Indian pacer Mohammad Shami (L) and skipper Virat Kohli. — AFP/File
  • Virat Kohli says “attacking someone over religion is the most pathetic thing human beings can do.”
  • “We stand by him fully, back him 200%,” he says.
  • India will clash against New Zealand on October 31 in Dubai.

Following India’s defeat against Pakistan, a torrent of social media abuse was aimed at the only Muslim cricketer in India’s T20 World Cup squad, Mohammed Shami, however, Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Saturday slammed those “bunch of spineless people” abusing Shami over his religion.

The 31-year-old bowler became the target of hate and abuse after Pakistan thrashed India with 10-wickets in Dubai, even though India skipper Virat Kohli acknowledged that his side had been “outplayed”.

Addressing a press conference, the skipper said: “There is 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 speak to any individual in person.”

“To me this is the lowest level of the human form, attacking someone over religion is the most pathetic thing human beings can do,” Kohli said, adding that he never thought of discriminating on basis of religion.

“That is a very sacred thing. Our brotherhood and friendship can’t be shaken…and these things can’t infiltrate. I give credit to people who understand us,” he added.

“People take out their frustrations because they have no understanding of the fact that Mohammed Shami has won India a number of matches. If people can overlook that and his passion for the country. Honestly, I don’t want to waste even one minute of my life on them. We stand by him fully, back him 200%,” he said on the eve of India’s match against New Zealand.

Thousands of messages were left on Shami’s Instagram account saying he was a “traitor” and should be thrown out of the Indian team.

However, support poured in from his many fans and celebrities from all walks of life.

Earlier, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan had also come to Shami’s support. Rizwan took to Twitter to write: “The kind of pressure, struggles [and] sacrifices a player has to go through for his country [and] his people is immeasurable.”

Tagging the Indian bowler, Rizwan had said: “@MdShami11 is a star [and] indeed [one]of the best bowlers in the world.”

He had requested people to respect their stars. “This game should bring people together [and] not divide,” he had added.

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