Dubai: A livid India captain Virat Kohli on Saturday hit back at "spineless trolls" who attacked Mohammed Shami's religion after the team lost to Pakistan in its inaugural T20 World Cup game and said targetting people for their faith is "the most pathetic thing" to do.
Shami, who endured an off day in India's 10-wicket defeat, was trolled on Instagram for his Muslim identity.
"Attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, pathetic thing that a human being can do," skipper Kohli didn't mince words on the eve of his team's crucial match against New Zealand when asked about the trolling that his senior pacer faced.
For Kohli, social media trolls are nothing but a bunch of "spineless" people, who don't have the courage to face real people in real life.
"There is a good reason why we are playing on the field and not some bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person," he said.
A lot of star players, including Sachin Tendulkar, had posted messages in support of Shami during the furore.
"Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about a certain situation, but I personally have never ever even thought of discriminating (against) anyone over their religion.
"That is a very sacred and a personal thing and that should be left there," Kohli said.
The skipper said that he doesn't want to waste time on losers, who overlook the fact that Shami had made some great contribution for the country.
"....Mohammad Shami has won India number of matches in the last few years and has been our primary bowler with Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to making an impact in games in Test cricket.
"If people can overlook that...I honestly don't even want to waste one minute of my life to give any attention to those people and neither does Shami and neither does anyone else in the team," the Indian skipper said.
Kohli reminded the naysayers that the bond among the team members is so strong that this kind of chatter doesn't infiltrate the protective shield they have created for themselves.
"We stand by him fully. We are backing him 200 percent. And all those who have attacked can come in more force if they want to... Our brotherhood, our friendship within the team and nothing can be shaken.
"And I can guarantee you that as the captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not even infiltrate into this environment -- .0001 per cent. That is a absolute guarantee for myself."
Talk about his take on social media abuse, Kohli termed it as the "lowest level of operative human potential".
"They hide behind identities to go after people on social media, making fun of people and that has become a social entertainment in today's world which is so unfortunate and sad to see.
"Because this is the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at and that's how I look at these people. Those who represent the country at the highest level are special people and common public won't have an idea about the kind of sacrifices they make to reach that level," he said.
Lack of compassion has become a norm, agreed the star batter.
"They don't have courage or spine to do something like that. So that's how I see things. All this drama created on the outside is purely due to people's frustration and lack of compassion so they find it so amusing to go after people," he said.
As Kohli has time and again reiterated that the chatter on the outside doesn't reach the team, he also made it clear that neither he nor his teammates would make a public show of how and in what way they carry out their jobs.
"How people react on the outside has no value in our group and never focused on it and we will never focus on it.
"People don't understand what it takes to do the job on the field at the international level and we are not going to go around just announcing to everyone what we do and how we do it," he said.
"We just carry on with our business that we are supposed to do. We take the learnings and move forward and not one game is more important than others," he added.
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Last year, Kohli had stepped down as the T20I captain and then he was removed as the ODI leader as the selectors wanted a skipper for the white-ball format
Kapil Dev also stated that Kohli must have thought long before making the decision to step down as Test captain.
Virat Kohli is India's most successful Test captain with the team winning 40 out of 68 matches under him.