Virat Kohli, on Sunday, won hearts not only with the way he batted and led India on the field against Australia but also with his heartwarming gesture for Steve Smith. The former Australia skipper and David Warner have been getting the harsh treatment from the fans in the ongoing World Cup for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal last year.
The duo made its comeback to international cricketer through the ongoing World Cup itself but the sailing has not been so smooth. The fans have booed and jeered them at all possible opportunity. Smith was getting a similar reception from Team India fans when he was fielding near the boundary ropes. However, Virat Kohli showed remarkable sportsmanship by pointing to the crowd and his Indian crest and encouraging them to be more positive.
The India star asked the fans to stop booing Smith and instead clap for him. Smith was later seen appreciating Kohli by shaking hands with him. At the end of the game, Kohli once again apologised on behalf of the Indian fans.
“What’s happened has happened like long back, the guy is back, he’s trying to play well for his side,” Kohli said.
“Even in the IPL I saw him, it’s not good to see someone down like that, to be honest. I just felt for him, and I told him, ‘I’m sorry on behalf of the crowd’.
“Because I’ve seen that happen in a few earlier games, as well, and in my opinion that’s not acceptable,” he added.
With India fans giving Steve Smith a tough time fielding in the deep, @imVkohli suggested they applaud the Australian instead.
— ICC (@ICC) June 9, 2019
The gesture from Kohli is truly remarkable given that and Smith shared a fractured relationship on the field. In 2017, Kohli had all but accused Smith of cheating when he looked to the dressing room before deciding whether to review an lbw decision against India.
“We’ve had issues in the past. We’ve had a few arguments on the field. But you don’t want to see a guy feeling that heat every time he goes out to play,” Kohli said.
“So just because there’s so many Indian fans here, I just didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest.
“I felt bad because if I was in a position where something had happened with me and I had apologised, I accepted it and I came back and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it, either,” he added.
Here is the clip showing Virat Kohli talking on Steve Smith:
“If I was in a position where something had happened with me, and I’d apologised and accepted it, and came back and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it either.”#ViratKohli on why he asked the fans to stop booing Steve Smith. #CWC19 | #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/CIMicjoSA0
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 9, 2019