Indian captain Virat Kohli on Saturday hit out at the social media abuse that was aimed at pacer Mohammed Shami following the team’s loss to Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
The 31-year-old Shami came in for abuse on social media after the 10-wicket defeat in Dubai, even though Kohli acknowledged that his side had been outplayed as a team.
“Attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, pathetic thing that a human being can do,” skipper Kohli said in an online interaction from Dubai.
“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,” Kohli said during a press conference ahead of India’s clash with New Zealand on Sunday.
“That is a very sacred and a personal thing and that should be left there.
“Mohammad Shami has won India 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 games in Test cricket.
“If people can overlook that...I honestly don’t even want to waste one minute of my life to give any attention to those people and neither does Shami and neither does anyone else in the team,” the Indian skipper said.
Kohli said the bond between team members is so strong that this kind of chatter doesn’t bother them.
“We stand by him fully. We are backing him 200 per cent. And all those who have attacked can come in more force if they want to... Our brotherhood, our friendship within the team and nothing can be shaken.
“And I can guarantee you that as the captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not even infiltrate into this environment – .0001 per cent. That is a absolute guarantee for myself.”
Talk about his take on social media abuse, Kohli termed it as the “lowest level of operative human potential”.
“They hide behind identities to go after people on social media, making fun of people and that has become a social entertainment in today’s world which is so unfortunate and sad to see.
“Because this is the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at and that’s how I look at these people. Those who represent the country at the highest level are special people and common public won’t have an idea about the kind of sacrifices they make to reach that level,” he said.
“They don’t have courage or spine to do something like that. So that’s how I see things. All this drama created on the outside is purely due to people’s frustration and lack of compassion so they find it so amusing to go after people,” he said.
Kohli reiterated that the chatter on the outside doesn’t affect the team.
“How people react on the outside has no value in our group and never focused on it and we will never focus on it. People don’t understand what it takes to do the job on the field at the international level and we are not going to go around just announcing to everyone what we do and how we do it,” he said.
“We just carry on with our business that we are supposed to do. We take the learnings and move forward and not one game is more important than others. 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 frustrations,” added Kohli.
Many messages were left on Shami’s Instagram account saying he was a “traitor” and should be thrown out of the Indian team. However, support came from many fans, former cricketers and celebrities for the pacer.
Quotes from PTI