LONDON: Indian captain Virat Kohli and Steve Smith have been involved in some bitter banter in the past, but the Indian skipper showed his true sportsmanship spirit when he gestured towards a section of the Indian fans to stop booing at the former Australian captain and cheer for him instead.
As India and Australia locked horns at The Oval in London on Sunday, Indian batsmen, including Kohli, were smashing the Australian bowlers for runs. In between the overs, Smith was sent to the boundary line. It was at that time that some Indian fans started booing at him and chanted “cheater, cheater”.
Kohli, who was batting at that time, took notice of it and was clearly not happy with the fans’ gestures. Showing his classy side, the Indian captain turned towards the stand and gestured at the fans to cheer for Smith and not boo at him.
The Indian skipper’s act was appreciated by Smith, who came up to him, shook his hand and patted him on the back during the drinks break. Kohli’s heartfelt gesture won him plenty of plaudits on social media.
Describing the incident later, Kohli told reporters, “What happened, happened long back. He’s back, trying to play well for his side. It is not good to see someone down like that…You don’t want to see a guy feeling heat every time he goes out to play.”
“I just felt for him and I told him sorry on behalf of the crowd because I have seen that happen in a few earlier games as well. In my opinion, that’s not acceptable,” he added.
Smith and David Warner were banned for a year for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal during a Test match against South Africa last year. The two players had played in this year’s IPL tournament and were selected for the World Cup.
“There are many Indian fans here, I didn’t want them to set a bad example because he(Steve Smith)didn’t do anything to be booed. I felt bad because if I was in a position where something happened and I had apologised, accepted and came back, still I get booed I wouldn’t like it either,” Kohli said.
Ever since Smith and Warner arrived in England, the duo received a hostile reception during the warm-up game against England and in Australia’s first match against Afghanistan.
Smith was booed by the crowd when he smashed a century during the warm-up match against England. And against West Indies, it was also the same story when fans jeered at the former Australian skipper when he hit a fifty. (ANI)