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'Bashing Pakistan is in my blood': Mohammed Shami on fire on and off the field

Feb 09, 2024 03:58 PM IST

Shami, who is currently out of the Indian side because of an ankle injury, said he would never understand why people feel jealous of other's success.

Mohammed Shami can never be tired of taking on Pakistan, be it on the cricket field or in social media. The India pacer, who enjoys a pretty good record against Pakistan, has often found himself in the middle of a social media whirlwind during the high-profile clash. But Shami enjoys that. Getting the better of Pakistan is in blood, he says. "Woh toh khoon mein hai (It's in my blood)," Shami said when the anchor said, "Sabse zyada toh aap Pakistan ko dhote hain (You tend to bash Pakistan the most) in a News18 video.

India's Mohammed Shami(PTI)

Shami had a terrific ODI World Cup for India, ending up the highest wicket-taker of the tournament despite not playing the first four matches. The right-arm pacer was nearly unplayable as India's first-change bowler, picking up 24 wickets - the most by an Indian in a single World Cup - in just 7 outings. He also became India's all-time highest wicket-taker in World Cups with 55 scalps to his name.

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But with success, came unusual criticism and scrutiny. Former Pakistan player Hasan Raza claimed that Shami and the other Indian bowlers were tampering with the ball to get more swing during the World Cup.

Shami, who is currently out of the Indian side because of an ankle injury, said he would never understand why people feel jealous of other's success.

"They have made cricket a joke because we don't enjoy each other's success. You become too happy when you are being praised, but when you lose, you feel that you have been cheated. You look at the records of the time we have been part of the team, you won't even find them close. Jalan toh puri dikhti hai wo. Itna jalane se kon se results mil jaane hain (Jealously is evident. You can never get good results with this amount of jealously," he said.

Shami rubbished Sajdah controversy during World Cup

Fans, mostly from Pakistan, also said that Shami wanted to do Sajdah after taking a wicket during a World Cup match against Sri Lanka but pulled out at the last moment thinking about the backlash.

“There were people who were saying that I wanted to do Sajdah, but didn’t. Some people called out the country, others my caste. Jinke dimaag mai jo keeda tha wo bola (Whatever filth they had to mutter, they did). Rather than appreciating my bowling, people highlighted that controversy,” Shami said.

Revealing the real reason behind getting down on his knees after dismissing Sri Lanka batter Kasun Rajitha, Shami urged the fans not to spread "nuisance".

“I was bowling a fifth over in a row, I think, and was bowling with effort beyond my ability. I was tired. The ball was beating the edge so often, so when I finally got that fifth wicket, I went down on my knees. Someone pushed me, so I moved forward a bit. That photo was widely circulated across social media. People thought I wanted to do Sajdah but didn’t. I’ve got only one advice for them, please stop such nuisance.

First of all, mai kisise nahi darta iss cheez se (I’m not afraid of anyone when it comes to this),” Shami said. “I’m a Muslim, and I’ve said this before, I’m proud of being one. And I’m a proud Indian too. For me, the country comes first. If these things bother someone, I don’t care. I live happily, and I represent my country, nothing matters more to me. As far as the controversies are concerned, those who only live to play these games on social media, I don’t care about them. As far as Sajdah is concerned, if I wanted to do it, I would have. It shouldn’t concern anyone else.”

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