Mohammad Rizwan came out in support of Indian bowler Mohammad Shami who faced online abuse after his team lost a crucial T20 World Cup match against Pakistan on Sunday.
The 31-year-old bowler became the target of hate and abuse after Pakistan thrashed India in Dubai, even though India skipper Virat Kohli acknowledged that his side had been outplayed.
“The kind of pressure, struggles and sacrifices a player has to go through for his country and his people is immeasurable,” Mohammad Rizwan said in a Tweet with an illustration of Shami.
Mohammad Shami is a star and indeed one of the best bowlers in the world, he said, adding “Please respect your stars. This game should bring people together and not divide them.”
Thousands of vitriolic messages were left on social media, including Shami’s Instagram account, calling him a traitor and alleging he had taken money to throw the game.
“We support every person who represents Team India,” said batting legend Sachin Tendulkar. Shami “is a committed, world-class bowler. He had an off day like any other sportsperson can have.”
Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, called on Indian players to reject the hate messages just as they had backed the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Your BLM knee-taking counts for nothing if you can´t stand up for your teammate who is being horribly abused and trolled,” Abdullah said on Twitter.
“Ignore the haters, most of India´s grateful for your effort,” said another supporter on Instagram.
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