“Proud I am Indian, Muslim”: Mohammed Shami On Gesture After 5-Wicket World Cup Haul

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Mohammed Shami took the ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 by storm, quite literally. The fast bowler missed the first four matches that the Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team played, but still took 24 wickets in seven matches – the most by anyone in 2023 edition. The 33-year-old pacer from Uttar Pradesh took three five-wicket hauls. Among the many records that he broke during the course of the World Cup, one that stood out was the seven-wicket haul that he took against New Zealand in the semi-final. It’s the best-ever figures by an Indian in ODI cricket.

However, there was one social media storm that brewed after India’s match against Sri Lanka, where Mohammed Shami took a five-wicket haul. After he took the fifth wicket at the Wankhede stadium in the round-robin stage match, he kneeled on the ground. Some social media users took the gesture in a different way and made an issue out of it. Mohammed Shami was asked about the same in an interview on Wednesday.

“There was one match where you took five wickets and then kneeled on the ground. Then from Pakistan, on social media, there came posts that said ‘Mohammed Shami is an Indian Muslim. He wants to do Sajda (prayer), but he was afraid to do it in India'” the anchor asked Mohammed Shami on Aaj Tak.

Mohammed Shami’s reply was quite straightforward. “If somebody wants to do Sajda, who will stop? I will not stop anybody from your religion, you will not stop anybody from my religion. If I have to do Sajda, I will do it. What is the problem? I say it with pride that I am Muslim. I am an Indian, I say it with pride that I am an Indian,” he replied.

“If I had an issue, I wouldn’t have lived in India. If I need to take anyone’s permission to do Sajda, why should I live here. I have also seen those comments on social media. Have I ever done Sajda on the ground? I have taken five wickets before also, but have I ever done Sajda. If I have to do Sajda, tell me where to do it, I will do it.”

Mohammed Shami added that such people, who try to create unnecessary controversy, should be avoided.  He also revealed the real reason why he kneeled down on the ground.

“I will do it on every stage in India. Nobody can stop me. These people try to create disturbance. These people are neither with me nor you. They don’t love anybody. They just need content. I kneeled down as I was bowling beyond my effort. I was tired. People took the gesture in a different way,” Shami said.

Mohammed Shami is currently going through medical treatment and is expected to join the Indian cricket team for the Test series in South Africa, that starts on December 26.

Mohammed Shami is in the running to receive the Arjun Award, according to a report in news agency PTI. Shami’s name has been recommended for this year’s prestigious Arjuna award by the selection committee after his spectacular performance in the cricket World Cup 2023.

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