Pakistan’s wicketkeeper batter Muhammad Rizwan lent his support to Muhammad Shami, who after his side was thrashed by Pakistan in the World Cup T20 match on Sunday, received a torrent of abuse on social media apparently because he was the only Muslim player in the team.
The 31-year-old bowler became the sole target of hate and abuse after Pakistan thrashed India in Dubai, even though India’s skipper Virat Kohli acknowledged that his side had been outplayed. The backlash can be attributed to Shami being the only Muslim member of the Indian Cricket team and the rise of the fascist Hindutva ideology under the Bharatiya Janta Party’s extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Like several others, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan came to Shami’s support.
Rizwan took to Twitter and wrote, “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 said, “@MdShami11 is a star [and] indeed [one]of the best bowlers in the world.”
The Pakistani opener said, “This game should bring people together [and] not divide.”
Amidst the hate, many Indian fans and politicians also urged support for the bowler. Congress member Rahul Gandhi asked Shami to “forgive” the trolls.
Gandhi tweeted, “These people are filled with hate because nobody gives them any love.”
India’s Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar highlighted that support for the Indian team means support for all its players. Tendulkar in his tweet wrote, “Shami is a committed, world-class bowler. He had an off day like any other sportsperson can have,” he tweeted, adding “I stand behind Shami & Team India.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, has yet to make an official statement on the backlash the player has received.