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Filthiest of abuses reference his religion

Mohammad Shami trolled after India’s loss to Pakistan

While Rahul Gandhi led the political field in expressing solidarity, neither the PM, nor any other Union minister condemned the attacks till Monday night
Shami during the match in Dubai on Sunday.
Shami during the match in Dubai on Sunday.

Our Bureau   |   New Delhi   |   Published 26.10.21, 02:29 AM

On a day industrialist Sanjiv Goenka and an investment firm committed over Rs 12,700 crore or $1.7 billion to buy two new IPL teams, some Indians were indulging in what is increasingly becoming another national pastime.

Cricketer Mohammad Shami was treated to the filthiest of abuses by trolls, most of whom referenced his religion, after India’s loss to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup match.

If Rahul Gandhi led the political field in expressing solidarity with Shami, the silence at the other end of the spectrum was marked by the usual indifference that Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays when faced with such choices.

Till Monday night, neither Modi nor any other Union minister had condemned the attacks on Shami.

Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were among those who “supported” and “stood by” Shami but few spoke of the reason that has made such a blizzard of communal attacks the “new normal” in India.

Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Mohammad #Shami we are all with you. These people are filled with hate because nobody gives them any love. Forgive them.”

Sachin, whose image had taken an unprecedented knock when he echoed the official stand after singer Rihanna tweeted about the farmers’ movement in India, wrote: “When we support #TeamIndia, we support every person who represents Team India.”

Sachin continued: “@MdShami11 is a committed, world-class bowler. He had an off day like any other sportsperson can have. I stand behind Shami & Team India.”

Sehwag tweeted: “The online attack on Mohammad Shami is shocking and we stand by him. He is a champion and Anyone who wears the India cap has India in their hearts far more than any online mob. With you Shami….”

It was not always like this — players did not routinely face hate attacks after a loss.

Irfan Pathan tweeted: “Even I was part of #IndvsPak battles on the field where we have lost but never been told to go to Pakistan! I’m talking about the India of few years back.”

It took broadcaster Raunak Kapoor to hit the nail on the head: “Mohammed Shami wasn’t viciously abused because he had an ‘off-day’. 9 players had an off-day yesterday. While it’s nice to see support for him from current & former players, would be prudent for them to also acknowledge & condemn the reason for it.”

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