'Targeting players for their faith, asking them to leave country unpardonable': Mohammad Kaif supports Mohammed Shami
- Reacted to the online attack on India pacer Mohammed Shami, former batter Mohammad Kaif said that feeling upset over the team's loss is understandable, but questioning players' religion and asking them to leave the country is "unpardonable".
Former Indian cricket team players have come out in support of pacer Mohammed Shami who was on the receiving end of online attack after India lost the T20 World Cup opening contest against arch-rivals Pakistan by 10 wickets. Shami was the most expensive bowler of the lot for India, giving away 43 runs in 3.5 overs in the match.
Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam chased down the 153-run target with ease in 17.5 overs, as Virat Kohli & co. suffered their first defeat of the tournament.
Writing in a column on India.com, Mohammad Kaif said that feeling upset over the team's loss is understandable, but questioning players' religion and asking them to leave the country is "unpardonable".
"It is painful to see the ugly spats between former players and the very disappointing behaviour of the fans on social media. I have been witnessing how Mohammad Shami was trolled after the game against Pakistan. I have played enough cricket to understand that the fans do get angry when their team loses a game by a big margin," Kaif wrote.
"I also get it that since the fans have invested so much in the team and players that they earn the right to criticise them. A batsman getting out for zero or a bowler getting hit for a six will always face abuse – be it in a World Cup clash against Pakistan or an under-arm gully cricket game. But targeting someone for his or her faith, asking them to leave the country is uncalled for and unpardonable," he added.
Kaif also praised Kohli, Babar and Rizwan for shaking hands and showcasing sportsman spirit after the match.
"It’s been a few days since the India-Pakistan T20 World Cup 2021 match but there is one frame that has stayed with me. The picture of Virat Kohli warmly shaking Babar Azam’s hands and later encouraging the other unbeaten Pakistan batsman Mohammad Rizwan by ruffling his hair was my takeaway from the action-packed game. It brought to mind my playing days and those India-Pakistan games," Kaif signed off.