T20 World Cup: Kohli battles ‘spineless’ Shami trolls
Virat Kohli on Saturday spoke out strongly in support of fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who was subjected to abuse on social media after India’s loss to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup last Sunday.
Shami was India’s most expensive bowler with figures of 3.5-0-43-0 during the 10-wicket defeat, and his social media accounts were subjected to widespread abuse, much of it based on his religion.
“There’s a good reason why we are playing on the field and not some bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person,” Kohli said in Dubai on the eve of India’s match against New Zealand. “They hide behind their entities and go after people through social media, making fun of people and that has become a source of entertainment in today’s world, which is so unfortunate and sad to see because this is literally the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at, and that’s how I look at these people.
“To me attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, pathetic thing that a human being can do. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about certain situations, but I personally have never ever even thought of discriminating anyone over their religion. That is a very sacred and personal thing to every human being and that should be left there.”
This is the first instance when a current India player has come out in support of his teammate following online abuse. Kohli stressed that the entire team has rallied behind Shami.
“People take out their frustrations because they have no understanding of what we do as individuals... they have no understanding of how much effort we put on the field,” Kohli said.
“They have no understanding of the fact that someone like Mohammed Shami has won India ‘n’ number of matches in the last few years and he’s been our primary bowler with Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to making an impact in games in Test cricket.
“I mean, if people can overlook that and his passion for the country, I honestly don’t even want to waste one minute of my life to give any attention to those people. Neither does Shami and neither does anyone else in the team. We stand by him fully. We are backing him 200 per cent, and all those who have attacked him can come with more force if they want to: our brotherhood, our friendship within the team, nothing can be shaken.”