Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Credits: Twitter)

Team India captain Virat Kohli, on Tuesday, won the ICC ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award for his gesture towards Australia’s Steve Smith during the 2019 World Cup. During the group match against Australia, Virat Kohli appealed to the crowd not to boo Steve Smith while he was batting and the latter was fielding.

Smith had just made a return to his national team after serving a year-long ban, which was handed out to him for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018. And thus during the game, he faced ‘cheater, cheater’ chants from the Indians fans. However, Kohli signalled the crowd to applaud Smith and not jeer at him.

“Yeah, it was a lovely gesture. It doesn’t really bother me what the crowd do to be perfectly honest, I’m just sort of blocking it all out but it was a lovely gesture from Virat, that’s for sure,” Smith had said after the game.

Virat Kohli, Steve Smith
Virat Kohli, Steve Smith (Credits: Twitter)

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Virat Kohli had drawn praise from all around the around for his gesture and the ICC also made sure to recognise it.

“It is part of camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other,” Kohli said after winning the award. “That moment was purely understanding an individual’s situation. I don’t think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of,” he recalled.

“You can sledge, can have have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in wanting to beat them. But booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport, I don’t endorse it,” added Virat Kohli.

But while Virat Kohli must have been happy to win the special award, there were some fans who were not at all impressed with it and took to Twitter to express their disbelief. Some even said that not Virat Kohli but his New Zealand counterpart Kane Williamson deserved the award.

Here are some of those reactions: