NEW DELHI: It was on June 9, 2019, when India skipper Virat Kohli won hearts of cricketing fans worldwide with his display a warm gesture towards Steve Smith in the Cricket World Cup.
On June 9 last year, India and Australia clashed against each other and during the Men in Blue’s innings, 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 and he was also awarded with the ICC’s ‘2019 Spirit of Cricket Award’ earlier this year.
After the match against Australia came to a conclusion in the World Cup, Kohli had said: “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 in 2018 for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal during a Test match against South Africa.
The two players had played in the 2019 IPL and then 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 had said. (ANI)