Dubai, Oct 30 (IANS) India captain Virat Kohli has strongly slammed the abuse which pacer Mohammed Shami received on social media after Pakistan defeated India by 10 wickets in their opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Pointing out that attacking someone over their religion is ‘pathetic’, Kohli remarked that discriminating against someone over their religion is something which he has never ever thought about.
Shami was subjected to vicious online trolling and abuse on Instagram and Twitter soon after the match between India and Pakistan ended, in which he conceded 43 runs in 3.5 overs. Many current and former cricketers condemned the abuse which Shami received on social media.
“To me, attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing that a human being can do. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about a certain situation. But personally I have never, ever, even thought of discriminating someone over their religion. That is a very personal and sacred thing to every human being and that should be left there. People take out their frustrations because they have no understanding of what we do as individuals and how much effort we put on the field,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
“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 has been our primary bowler with Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to making an impact in the games in Test cricket. If people can overlook that and his passion for the country, honestly, I don’t even want to waste even one minute of my life to give any attention to those people.
“We stand by him fully. We are backing him 200%. All those people who have attacked can come with more force if they want to. Our brotherhood and friendship within the team, nothing can be shaken. I can guarantee you that as a captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not infiltrate into this environment .0001%. That is an absolute guarantee from my side.”
Further commenting on the abuse Shami received on social media, Kohli termed the trollers as ‘bunch of spineless people’. “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. Behind our entities, go after our people through social media and making fun of people. That has become a source of entertainment in today’s world which is so unfortunate and so sad to see because this is literally the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at. That’s how I look at these people.
“We as individuals understand what we want to do on the field and the strength of character and mental toughness that we have. Precisely, what we are doing on the field and none of them are in the vicinity to even imagine doing something like that. They do not have the courage or spine to do that. So, that is how I see things. All this drama that is created on the outside is purely based on people’s frustrations and their lack of self-confidence, compassion. Hence, they find it so amusing to go after people. So, we as a group, understand how we need to stick together, back individuals and focus on our strengths.”
Both India and New Zealand are looking to bag their first two points of the tournament after losing their opening matches to Pakistan and keep themselves in the race for a spot in the semifinals from Group 2.