Md Shami DID NOT slam Harbhajan Singh's bond with Shahid Afridi

Md Shami DID NOT slam Harbhajan Singh's bond with Shahid Afridi

India Today found no evidence to support the claim that Mohammad Shami took a dig at Harbhajan Singh.
Md Shami DID NOT slam Harbhajan Singh's bond with Shahid Afridi



6 Nov 2023

India's resounding triumph over Sri Lanka showcased remarkable performances by fast bowlers,

particularly Mohammad Shami's exceptional spell of five wickets for 18 runs. The excellent spell earned him the second “Man of the Match” award in the World Cup.


Shami's unique celebration by rubbing the ball on his head garnered widespread attention and sparked a quote attributed to him, which is now viral on social media. Many social media users claimed that the bowling sensation criticised former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh for allegedly helping another Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi collect donations.

"Shami in the post-match presentation, stated, ‘I dedicated my 5-wicket haul to our bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, because he supported me during a low phase and enhanced my skills. I celebrated in that manner because he had no hair on his head. This celebration has nothing to do with Harbhajan bhajji. I could never dedicate my 5-wicket haul to someone who helped collect donations for Pakistani Shahid Afridi,’" read such posts. An archived version of the post can be seen here.


India Today Fact Check found that the quote is fabricated. Mohammad Shami did not make any statements regarding Harbhajan and Afridi, nor did he comment while celebrating.


Our Probe

Given the gravity of the alleged statement by Shami, there would have been several news reports about his purported comment. However, extensive searches using relevant keywords failed to produce any credible results.


Although, news outlets such as ESPN Cricinfo and Times Now reported about Shami's post-match presentation where he expressed his gratitude to the almighty and stated that there was 'no rocket science' behind his remarkable performance.


Shami was quoted saying, "Just a matter of rhythm, good food, keeping your mind uncluttered, and, most importantly, the love of the people." Notably, there was no mention of his celebration or to whom he dedicated his five-wicket haul.


A report from The Times of India noted that the reason behind Shami's unique gesture of rubbing the ball on his head, was a tribute to their bald bowling coach, Paras Mhambrey, as explained by Shubman Gill during a post-match conversation with the broadcasters.


We thoroughly reviewed the post-match presentation and conversation on Hotstar, the official digital broadcaster of the World Cup, and found no indication that either Shami or Gill made any statements resembling the viral claim about Harbhajan.


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