Pakistan opener and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan has condemned the abuse against Mohammed Shami after India lost to Pakistan in their T20 World Cup Super 12 opener in Dubai on Sunday. Rizwan cam up with a strongly-worded statement on social media, saying the game of cricket should bring people together and not divide them.
Mohammed Shami was subject to abuse on social media as trolls singled him out and targeted him after Pakistan defeated India in a World Cup game for the first time after 12 attempts in their history. Shami was labelled a “traitor” and his Instagram page was filled with vile comments even as the entire team, led by Virat Kohli came up with an underwhelming performance in the big-ticket match.
Shami had an off day on the field as he gave away 44 runs in 3.5 overs as Pakistan gunned down a 152-run target with 13 balls and 10 wickets to spare. Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan, hitting an unbeaten 79 while captain Babar Azam was unbeaten on 68 as Pakistan registered their first-ever 10-wicket victory in T20 cricket.
Taking to social media on Tuesday, Rizwan said Shami is one of the best fast bowlers going around and urged fans to respect the star bowler.
“The kind of pressure, struggles & sacrifices a player has to go through for his country & his people is immeasurable. @MdShami11 is a star & indeed of the best bowlers in the world. Please respect your stars. This game should bring people together & not divide ’em #Shami #PAKvIND,” Rizwan wrote on Twitter.
The kind of pressure, struggles & sacrifices a player has to go through for his country & his people is immeasurable. @MdShami11 is a star & indeed of the best bowlers in the world
— Mohammad Rizwan (@iMRizwanPak) October 26, 2021
Shami received support from his former and current India teammates who condemned the abuse against the senior fast bowler.
It was heartwarming to see Virat Kohli embrace Mohammad Rizwan and congratulate Babar Azam despite finishing on the losing side in one of the biggest encounters of the last leg of his T20I captaincy career. Several Pakistan players, including captain Babar and senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik, gathered around mentor MS Dhoni to have a chat with the former India captain.
World Cup-winning off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal sent love to Shami with heartwarming social media posts.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 25, 2021
We are so proud of you @MdShami11 bhaiya
— Yuzvendra Chahal (@yuzi_chahal) October 25, 2021
Former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan was critical of those who abused Shami and recalled personal experiences from his playing days.
Criticising is fine but khiladiyon ko abuse nahi karna chahiye. Ye game hai, better team on that day won. Inhi cricketers ne India ko bohot matches jitaye hain pichle kuch saalon mein. Aur haar kar jeetne wale ko hi baazigar kehte hai na! #indiaVsPakistan #INDvPAK #T20WorldCup21 pic.twitter.com/cLqNmbRQ9T
— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) October 25, 2021
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) October 25, 2021
Decorated India batsman VVS Laxman stressed that Shami will bounce back and urged fans to support the fast bowler and the Indian team.
Mohammed Shami has been a stellar performer for India for eight years, playing a significant role in many a victory. He can’t be defined by one performance. My best wishes are always with him. I urge fans & followers of the game to support @MdShami11 and the Indian team.
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) October 25, 2021