Kohli’s Virat Roop, leadership matters. One of a leader’s most important responsibilities is to protect members of his or her team from harm. This is true whether you’re in sports, business, politics, or a fight. Virat Kohli has exemplified leadership by not only standing firm behind Mohammed Shami and denouncing the trolls who hurled toxic communal abuse at the bowler after India’s T20 World Cup loss to Pakistan, but also by sending a message loud and clear that bigots are not welcome to support the Indian cricket team.
Kohli’s virat roop will go a long way toward quieting those for whom what is said is more important than what is said: ‘…attacking someone because of their religion is the most pitiful thing a human being can do.’
In India, sports and entertainment have been hesitant to ‘take a stand.’ Cricketers and actors ‘opening their mouths’ in a society where every facet of life can be viewed via a communal lens might result in a Pandora’s box being opened. This time, though, communal venom was thrown at one of the pivots around which all Indians rally in support, religion, caste, and political differences notwithstanding: Team India. Ironically, Indian players ‘taking a knee’ as a ‘Black Lives Matter’ gesture seemed faddish before the commencement of the India-Pakistan game. It is communalism (and casteism) that’matters’ here, not racism. This was painfully obvious after the game.
Standing ‘100%’ behind Shami and condemning those’spineless people,’ the captain emphasised that ‘our brotherhood, our friendship within the team, nothing can be shaken’ by those who substitute their ignorance of the playing effort and the value someone like Shami brings to the team with mindless vitriol. May there be many more Virat Kohlis who stand up for their colleagues when they are confronted by anti-nationals.
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