Virat Kohli slammed social media trolls and condemned online abuse on Mohammed Shami, which came after India’s defeat to Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2021 opener on Sunday, October 24. Kohli stated that attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing a human being can do.
Virat Kohli lashed out at social media trolls and called them “spineless” in a strongly-worded response on the eve of India’s Super 12s clash against New Zealand. Kohli specifically condemned people for attacking an individual over religion, after Mohammed Shami faced online abuse on social media platforms following India’s defeat to Pakistan in their first match of the tournament.
In a strong statement, Kohli lamented over the fact that the online trollers are entertained, as he stressed on the challenges that come through while playing at the international level.
Here’s what the India captain said:
"To me, attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing a human being can do. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion but I personally have never even thought of discriminating against someone over their religion.
"This is literally the lowest potential as a human being one can operate at. There's a reason we are playing on the field and not those spineless people. It is so unfortunate and sad to see people getting entertained.
"We are doing what we are doing on the field and none of these people (social media trolls) are even in the vicinity to even imagine doing something like that. They do not have the courage or the spine to do that. That is how I see things.
"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. If people can overlook that and his passion for the country, I 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 and back him 200 percent and all those who have attacked him can come with more force if they want to. Our brotherhood, our friendship within the team, and nothing can be shaken. I can guarantee to you as the captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not infiltrate into the environment.
“As a group, we understand how we need to stick together and how we need to back individuals and how we need to focus on our strengths and whether people on the outside portray the fact that India cannot afford to lose a game of cricket is none of our business because we play sport and we understand how sport goes. So, how people think on the outside adds no value whatsoever. We never focussed on it and we will never focus on it going forward either.
"Like I said last time, people do not understand what it takes to do the job on the field at the international level and we are not going to go around and announce to everyone what we do and how we do it. We are just supposed to carry on and if a game goes off, you take the learning from it and you move forward. Not one game is more than the other. Every game of cricket is important and so is the case in the next game as well."
Several cricketers have already extended their support to Shami, as abuses were hurled after the pacer’s rare poor outing against Pakistan, in which he finished 0/43 from 3.5 overs.
India will face New Zealand in their second match in Dubai on Sunday, October 31.