Indian captain Virat Kohli on Saturday hit out at the "bunch of spineless people", reacting strongly to the torrent of social media abuse that was aimed at his pacer Mohammed Shami over his religion, following the team's loss to arch-rivals Pakistan in the T20 World Cup.
The 31-year-old Shami became the main target after the bitter 10-wicket defeat in Dubai, even though Kohli acknowledged that his side had been "outplayed".
"There is a good reason why we are playing on the field and not some bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person," Kohli said during a press conference here.
"This is the lowest level of human form, attacking someone over religion is the most pathetic thing human being can do.
"Never thought of discriminating on basis of religion. That is a very sacred thing. Our brotherhood and friendship can't be shaken... and these things can't infiltrate. I give credit to people who understand us," he added.
"Attacking someone over their religion is the most, I would say, pathetic thing that a human being can do," skipper Kohli didn't mince words on the eve of his team's crucial match against New Zealand when asked about the trolling that his senior pacer faced.
"There is a good reason why we are playing on the field and not some bunch of spineless people on social media that have no courage to actually speak to any individual in person," he said
"Everyone has the right to voice their opinion and what they feel about a certain situation, but I personally have never ever even thought of discriminating (against) anyone over their religion.
"That is a very sacred and a personal thing and that should be left there," Kohli said.
"We stand by him fully.
We are backing him 200 per cent.
And all those who have attacked can come in more force if they want to.
Our brotherhood, our friendship within the team and nothing can be shaken.
"And I can guarantee you that as the captain of the team that we have built a culture where these things will not even infiltrate into this environment -- .
0001 per cent.
That is a absolute guarantee for myself.
Talk about his take on social media abuse, Kohli termed it as the "lowest level of operative human potential".
"They hide behind identities to go after people on social media, making fun of people and that has become a social entertainment in today's world which is so unfortunate and sad to see.
"Because this is the lowest level of human potential that one can operate at and that's how I look at these people.
Those who represent the country at the highest level are special people and common public won't have an idea about the kind of sacrifices they make to reach that level," he said.
"They don't have courage or spine to do something like that.
So that's how I see things.
All this drama created on the outside is purely due to people's frustration and lack of compassion so they find it so amusing to go after people," he said.
"How people react on the outside has no value in our group and never focused on it and we will never focus on it.
"People don't understand what it takes to do the job on the field at the international level and we are not going to go around just announcing to everyone what we do and how we do it," he said.
"We just carry on with our business that we are supposed to do.
We take the learnings and move forward and not one game is more important than others," he added.
Hundreds of messages were left on Shami's Instagram account saying he was a "traitor" and should be thrown out of the Indian team.
However, support poured in from his many fans and celebrities from all walks of life too backed the bowler.