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Once the GOAT stood up for others, from Anushka Sharma to Shami

Virat Kohli, the legend of modern cricket and India’s run machine, is celebrating his 34th birthday today. Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers, who played with Kohli for around ten years for Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Indian Premier League, said in a birthday message today: “You are a great cricketer but you are a much better person being. Thank you so much for your friendship. Thank you for being a great teammate and just a great man.” Witnesses to this fact are all the times when Kohli not only delivered Team India some great victories, but in the process also showed integrity and strength in standing up for others.

Here are a few examples of Kohli putting his foot down when others were in trouble, from his wife Anushka Sharma to teammates Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

When Virat Kohli lashed out at people Anushka Sharma . troll

Anushka Sharma has repeatedly suffered cruel trolling by people who blamed her for Kohli’s performance on the pitch. The pair are each other’s loyal supporters and in such a case Kohli lashed out at the trolls who had targeted Sharma. He took to Instagram and wrote in part of his post: “Shame on those people who have tried the longest on anushka and connect every negative thing with her. Shame on those people who call themselves highly educated. I’m ashamed to blame her to give and make fun of when she has no control over what I do with my sport at least she has only motivated me and given me more positivity [sic].” He also made a point that he didn’t want “respect” for posting the post.

When he stood up to trolls that Mohammed Shami . had as a target

Mohammed Shami faced shameful online abuse last year after India’s loss to Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Shami was attacked by trolls because of his religious identity. Kohli didn’t say a word to show his support for Shami. During a pre-match media briefing, Kohli called the trolls “spinless” and said, “Attacking someone because of their religion is the most, I would say, pathetic thing a human being can do.”

“There’s a good reason why we play on the pitch and not a bunch of mushy people on social media who don’t have the courage to actually talk to someone in person,” he added.

“Everyone has the right to express their opinion and what they think about a particular situation, but I personally never thought of discriminating (against) anyone on the basis of their religion. “That’s a very sacred and personal thing and it should stay there,” Kohli said.

When he fired journalist about dropping Rohit Sharma

During 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, a journalist asked Kohli about team selection after the loss to Pakistan. The journalist asked him if Rohit Sharma could have been replaced by Ishan Kishan in the upcoming matches. Kohli replied sarcastically, “It’s a very brave question! What do you think sir? I played against the team I thought was the best, what’s your opinion? Are you dropping Rohit Sharma from the T20Is?” He laughed at it and mocked digging for “controversy”.

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