I refuse to tweet or put out a message in support of Shami.
That is because I love Mohammad Shami, the Indian fast-bowler, a lot.
I love that strong lad, built like a bull, for the jump in his stride, right before he delivers. His deliveries have that abrupt extra bounce that just grows on a batter and draws him in. I love that Shami- the man who is always in the hunt, bowling his heart out, ball-after-ball, match-after-match.
I see no need to back him in the face of manufactured outrage by the left-liberal-Islamist gang, led by the most vile and manipulative of blue ticks (We have seen the game). Yes, India took on Pakistan in a regulation World Cup match, and lost badly. All Indian players have been mercilessly trolled. I myself mocked Rohit as a flat-track bully, and Rahul as a ‘weakling’ immediately after they got out. I derided Kohli for being too dumb with his selections, Pant for throwing it away, and Pandya for being a burden. I decried Bhuvi for just not being there, Bumrah for not getting India a breakthrough, and Shami for being stingless on Sunday. So fucking what? I also stood up and cheered Shaheen Shah Afridi, Babar and Rizwan for their commendable efforts.
The players representing my side, the BCCI XI, are all professionals. Love, adulation, mockery and derision come as part of the package, and these lads know it. You drop a catch, you’re fixing the game! You take a flier, you might still be fixing the game, but now for us! Such regulation trolling holds no meaning.
Contrary to what is often lamely suggested, Cricket is not a religion for the Indians. No, there is nothing sacrosanct about our love for and interest in the game. Rather cricket is catharsis for us. A good performance by our preferred side (and that depends upon our pecuniary interest in the match) can lift us up like a beer pint can, and a disappointing one can bring everything crashing down- an evening made, or spoilt, by the outcome of a cricket match!
Medieval societies break televisions, like they did in Pakistan the last time we played. Hooligans like the English football fans riot in streets and hurl racial abuses at players. Indians, being stingy, lazy and smartphone obsessed, prefer online trolling. Anonymous trolls can be as disgusting as their hollowness allows- why just the religious identity, or patriotism, under attack are your character, families, relationships, and what not. Yeah, and so what? This is the jungle called social media and everyone is under attack. Let us not patronize Shami alone.
I refuse to tweet in favour of Shami, because he is a grown-up, has faced a lot in life and emerged victorious. He is not a Urduwood star who needs PR agencies to peddle his credentials, or his well-wishers to mollycoddle him. It must rather be embarrassing for Shami Bhai to see his teammates and ex-players, senior politicians, Tom, Dick and idiots tweeting in his support to reassure him of their love, trust and confidence. (And for what? He didn’t lose us the match either. He also knows that. We had lost it in the first six overs itself)
Mental health does not take into consideration if you a Muslim or a Hindu. As far as I can tell, Virat Kohli must have faced the worst of abuses after the loss to Pakistan. His captaincy is already gone and his woke views have rubbed a large population the wrong way. He has even been publicly labelled a ‘traitor’ for hugging Rizwan and Babar after the match. Fans have accused him of spoiling their Diwali. But Virat has received hardly any support from these so-called liberal handles, and rightly so.
Because even Virat Kohli doesn’t need that support. He is better off without such lip service.
Online hate is best tackled through neglect. Regulation by social media companies has failed completely. Governmental regulation is best avoided. Anonymous abusive handles and bots do not represent any particular community. One should be careful with campaigns feigning selective outrage against the ‘trends’ by these fictitious accounts. Not just that, ‘manufactured outrage’ has now become a valuable tool in the art of propaganda. For all my twitter exposure, I hardly saw any anti-Shami tweet in the last 36 hours, rather found possibly 10000 tweets backing him. This is hardly normal. Something was fishy there!
And yet this is on predictable lines. A Muslim fanatic kept the Quran in a Pujo pandal in Bangladesh to whip up sentiments against Hindus. The aim is to discredit the Hindu community as intolerant, and raise the cry of ‘Muslims in danger’. This can then be used to label the majority of Indian voters as bigoted and hateful, hence undermining Indian democracy in the long run.
Which is why I refuse to tweet in support of Mohammad Shami. I do not want to take the easy path that brands like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have taken. They have their obligations- public image, private relationships and brand value to safeguard. Besides their tacit support which directly benefits Shami, even their online support helps to dissuade the wannabe haters, send positive message and boosts everyone in the ecosystem. But for a non-entity like me, this tokenism is meaningless (rather dangerous). I don’t want to selectively support Shami, and pretend that other Indian players did not face abuse. Besides, I don’t even wanna acknowledge that Shami is someone special, or different because of his communal affiliations.
For me Mohammad Shami belongs to the Most Special Tribe of Fast Bowlers, and his heart pumps Blue Blood which flows in his veins. He runs and runs, and bowls and bowls with that leonine heart for India, and is adored by millions like me.
That’s more than enough from me, and guess that’s more than enough for Shami as well.
#mohammadshami #Shami #onlineabuse #trolling #worldcup2021 #IndiaVPakistan #BCCI #ICC #PCB #BabarAzam #ViratKohli