“Proud, I’m Indian, Muslim”: Mohammed Shami on gestures after 5-Wicket World Cup haul

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

However, there was a social media storm brewing after India’s match against Sri Lanka, in which Mohammed Shami took a five-wicket haul. After he took the fifth wicket at the Wankhede stadium in the round-robin stage match, he knelt 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 the same in an interview on Wednesday.

“There was a match where you took five wickets and then knelt on the ground. Then there were posts from Pakistan, on social media, saying ‘Mohammed Shami is an Indian Muslim. He wants to do Sajda (prayer), but he was afraid to do it in India’” anchor Mohammed Shami further asked Oh thank you.

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

“If I had a problem, I wouldn’t have lived in India. If I have to take someone’s permission to do that Sajda, why should I live here. I have also seen those comments on social media. Have I ever done Sajda on earth? I have also taken five wickets before but have I ever done that Sajda. If I have to do Sajdatell me where to do it, I’ll 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 knelt on the ground.

“I will do it on every stage in India. No one can stop me. These people are trying to create disturbances. These people are neither with me nor with you. They do not love anyone. They just need content. I knelt 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 undergoing medical treatment and is expected to join the Indian cricket team for the Test series in South Africa starting 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 following his spectacular performance in the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

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