T20 World Cup 2021: Glad the cricket fraternity stood up for Shami after he was abused online- Gambhir

Mohammad Shami and Gautam Gambhir | Twitter

Gautam Gambhir, former India opener, has firmly backed India pacer Mohammad Shami, who was relentlessly trolled on social media after India suffered a humiliating 10-wicket loss to rivals Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2021 opening match in Dubai on Oct 24.

This was India’s first loss to Pakistan in a World Cup match be it the 20-over tournament or the 50-over extravaganza. Mohammad Shami returned figures of 0/43 in 3.5 overs and Pakistani opener Mohammad Rizwan hit a boundary off Shami to take his team to a historic victory.

Writing in his column for the Times of India, Gambhir stated the unity between Hindus and Muslims in India citing examples of a movie bhajan ‘Man tarpat Hari darshan ko’ from 1952 film Baiju Bawra which was sung by a Muslim Mohammad Rafi, composed by Naushad and written by Shakeel Badayuni.

He also recalled Amitabh Bachchan playing a Muslim in the 1983 movie Coolie, while the late Rishi Kapoor played Akbar in the 1975 blockbuster Amar Akbar Anthony.

Further, Gambhir writes: “Cut to the present times. India lose to Pakistan on Sunday. By Monday/Tuesday, Mohammad Shami’s integrity towards his team and country was being questioned. How ridiculous can that be? Is it to say that Jasprit Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar were more committed because they belong to a certain religion? Where are we heading? I know Shami very well as I have led him in KKR. He is a hard-working, committed fast bowler who just had an off day. Unfortunately for him, it happened against Pakistan. But that can happen to anyone. Why can’t we just say, “well done Pakistan” and leave it at that?”

Multiple cricket legends from India and other influential personalities called for support for Mohammad Shami who was even called a traitor for his ineffective bowling performance against Pakistan.

We have to be mindful that cricket and films are two most followed industries in our country. Both offer hope. Hence these industries and their protagonists are always looked up to. I am glad to note that the cricketing fraternity stood up for Shami and there was support from all corners,” he wrote.

Gambhir also called Quinton de Kock not kneeling in support for the BLM campaign ‘shameful’.

As this episode was dying down another one cropped up. Quinton De Kock refusing to kneel down for the “Black Life Matters” campaign was a shame. I am not sure what are his reasons to abstain but the matter demands more clarity. Anything left to speculate in a shoot-happy world of social media is going to complicate matters even more. And remember the team is South Africa, a nation which has had its share of racism inflicted episodes,” Gambhir concluded.