“I am a proud Indian and a proud Muslim,” said Indian ace seamer Mohammed Shami, lashing out at attempts to ‘create a ruckus’ through the ‘Sajda’ controversy, which erupted after the ICC World Cup match against Sri Lanka.
In the match, after Shami’s celebration over completing his five-wicket haul, some users on social media tried to create a controversy alleging that the Indian fast bowler intended to prostrate on the field but refrained from doing so, potentially fearing backlash.
In a viral video, Shami is seen kneeling, with both his hands touching the ground. On being trolled, he reacted to the allegations saying, “If I want to do Sajda then who will stop me? I won’t stop anyone from other religions nor will they stop me. If I want to do it, I will do it.” This comes after Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan faced criticism for celebrating his hundred in a World Cup match by offering prayers on the field.
Shami took three five-wicket hauls during the 2023 World Cup, securing two against New Zealand and one against Sri Lanka.
However, he faced trolling for what some construed as doing ‘sajda’. Speaking to Aaj Tak on Wednesday, he denied performing a religious act and revealed that it was due to tiredness caused by ‘200 percent intensity’ while bowling.
“I bowled with 200 percent intensity in that game against Sri Lanka. Wickets were falling in quick succession and after taking 3 wickets, I thought should take a 5-wicket haul today. I was tired of not getting a wicket despite beating the edge of the batter so many times. I was bowling at full tilt. So, when I got my 5th wicket, I sank to the ground and kneeled. But people ascribed a different meaning to it,” he clarified talking about the actual reason behind the gesture.
“People like this are not on anyone’s side. They only want to create a ruckus,” he added.
Shami has won over the hearts of Indian fans, and netizens with his cricket skills as well as his words.
“If I have to ask permission to pray from someone, then why should I be in this country? Have I ever prayed after taking a 5-wicket haul before? I have taken many five-wicket hauls.
“You tell me where you have to pray, and I will go and pray there,” he said.
Some netizens were seen praising him for his response to such trolls and backlash.
Shami is nominated for this year’s Arjuna Award and is likely to be awarded, after his heroics in the World Cup. On the other hand, he is likely to miss the South Africa Test Series owing to his ankle injury which he sustained during the World Cup match.