Shami hits back at trolls, clears the air over ‘sajda’ controversy in World Cup

Mohammed Shami on Wednesday hit back at trolls who tried to target him for his celebration after completing his five-for in the ICC World Cup match against Sri Lanka last month.

Shami ran through the Sri Lankan batting lineup in the match that took place on 2 November in Mumbai, returning figures of 5-1-18-5 as the Kusal Mendis-led side were bundled out for a paltry 55 to crumble to a 302-run defeat.

The pacer got down on his hands and knees after dismissing Kasun Rajitha to complete the second of his three five-fors in the tournament as his teammates gathered around him to celebrate the fall of the ninth Sri Lankan wicket.

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A section of netizens, however, tried to create a controversy by suggesting Shami was performing ‘sajda’ — an Islamic act of prayer that involves touching one’s forehead on the ground while kneeling — to celebrate his five-for.

Shami however, categorically denied performing a religious act after the wicket while asserting that is a “proud Indian and a proud Muslim” at the same time.

“If I wanted to pray, who could stop me? I won’t stop anyone from praying. If I want to pray, I will pray. What’s the problem in this? I will say it with pride that I am a Muslim. I will say it with pride that I am an Indian. What’s the problem in that?

“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,” Shami said on ‘Agenda Aaj Tak’.

Shami would go on to reveal the actual reason behind that gesture, while adding the fact that he bowled with “200 per cent” intensity in that match.

“People like this are not on anyone’s side. They only want to create a ruckus. I bowled with 200 per cent intensity in that game against Sri Lanka. Wickets were falling in quick succession and after taking 3 wickets, I thought I had to 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. People gave a different meaning to it. I think people who are misinterpreting these things don’t have any other work

The Gujarat Titans pacer finished as the leading wicket-taker (24) in the World Cup despite having sat out of the first four matches. He was included in the group-stage match against New Zealand in Dharamsala after an ankle injury to all-rounder Hardik Pandya, and made an instant impact with a five-for against the Black Caps.

For his heroics in the World Cup, Shami is likely to be bestowed with the Arjuna Award.

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