India captain Virat Kohli has hit back at trolls who targetted pacer Mohammed Shami on social media after the team’s 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai on Sunday.
Backing teammate Shami, Kohli condemned the communal abuse that was directed at the 31-year-old bowler on his social media accounts after India’s defeat. “Attacking someone over their religion is the most pathetic thing one can do as a human. That is a very sacred and personal thing. People take out their frustration because they have no understanding of what we do,” Kohli told reporters in Saturday’s pre-match press conference on the eve of the Super 12 encounter against New Zealand.
“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 frustrations,” Kohli added.
“We stand by by him 200 per cent. Our brotherhood in the team cannot be shaken.”
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.