A livid India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday hit back at “spineless trolls” who attacked Mohammed Shami’s religion after the team lost to Pakistan in its inaugural T20 World Cup game and said targeting people for their faith is “the most pathetic thing” to do. Shami, who endured an off day in India’s 10-wicket defeat, was trolled on Instagram for his Muslim identity. “Attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, a pathetic thing that a human being can do. That is a very sacred and personal thing. People take out their frustration because they have no understanding of what we do,” skipper Kohli didn’t mince words. This happened on the evening of his team’s crucial match against New Zealand when asked about the trolling that his senior pacer faced.
“We’re playing on the field, we’re not a bunch of spineless people on social media. This has become a source of entertainment for some people which is very sad. All this drama created on the outside is based on people’s frustration. We stand by him 200 percent. Our brotherhood in the team cannot be shaken,” he added. Speaking about the game against New Zealand, Kohli said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is fine after taking a blow on his shoulder while batting against Pakistan. Asked whether Shardul Thakur could feature on Sunday, Kohli said, “He (Shardul) is a guy who is definitely in our plans, constantly making a case for himself. He is someone who can bring a lot of value to the team. What role he plays, or where, is something that I can’t talk about right now.”
Kohli was also asked about New Zealand pacer Trent Boult’s statement before the game that he would try to replicate Pakistan‘s Shaheen Afridi, who picked three wickets against India. “We obviously will come up against some quality bowlers in this competition and the intensity which this tournament operates at is very different. So we know that we have played against these individuals, it is not something out of the ordinary that is going to come our way. It all depends on how we take the field mentally and how we counter it if Trent says he wants to replicate what Shaheen did against us then he is motivated to do so and we need to be motivated to put pressure on him and counter that,” said Kohli.
A lot of players, including Sachin Tendulkar, posted a lot of messages on social media during this dark episode of Shami’s life. “Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about a certain situation, but I personally have never ever even thought of discriminating against anyone over their religion.” The skipper said that he does not want to waste time on losers who overlook the fact that Shami had made some great contributions to the country.