Cricket is a gentleman’s game, and Virat Kohli proves it right.
Indian captain Virat Kohli won hearts all over for asking the crowd to cheer for Steve Smith in yesterday’s match. The former Australian captain, who was banned last year for misconduct, came back to the fields this World Cup. Smith played the game in his best interest and tried to give the best he could for his team.
However, the crowd, which consisted of a huge number of Indian fans, had other plans to bring him down. In the India vs. Australia match that was conducted at the Oval in London on 9th June, Smith was booed by the crowd. He was first booed with chants of ‘cheater, cheater’ when he was fielding near the Vauxhall end as the third man. Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya was just dismissed and the crowd tried to distract Smith by their chants.
Virat Kohli, who was batting at that time stood up for Smith. He looked towards that section of the stadium and signalled them to cut it out. He then made a ‘clap’ gesture by pointing towards Smith, asking them to cheer for him.
With India fans giving Steve Smith a tough time fielding in the deep, @imVkohli suggested they applaud the Australian instead.
— ICC (@ICC) 9 June 2019
Following this, Smith walked past him and shared hands with the player, thanking him for the gesture.
On another instance, when Smith walked out to bat for Australia, the crowd began with their booing again. Another section of the crowd started the same chants. Fielding at mid-wicket this time, Kohli again looked up, made a folded hand sign and asked them to cut it out.
Steve Smith went on to score as many as 69 runs, but his side lost by 36 runs in the end.
Speaking about this incident in the post-match press conference, Kohli said that there are so many Indian fans there, and he just didn’t want them to set a bad example. He added that Smith didn’t do anything to be booed.
“He’s just playing cricket. I mean he’s just standing there and I felt bad because if I was in a position where something had happened with me and I’d apologised and accepted it and I came back and still I get booed, I wouldn’t like it either.
So I just felt for him and told him ‘sorry for… on behalf of the crowd’. We’ve seen that happen in a few earlier games as well. In my opinion that’s not acceptable.”
Smith served his ban for the sandpaper-gate scandal and made a comeback to the Australian team this year. He was subjected to the same treatment earlier when Australia played against Afghanistan.
Commenting on his previous differences with Smith, Kohli said that it had happened a long time ago.
Wow. How good is this from Virat Kohli? Steve Smith is sent to field on the boundary, and immediately cops the most hideous boos from the Indian fans. So Kohli turns to that stand and gestures for them to clap Smith. #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/GBTPaolOXh
— Sam Landsberger 🗯 (@SamLandsberger) 9 June 2019
“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’s going out to play. What’s happened has happened and everyone knows that. He’s back, he’s worked hard and he’s playing well for his side”
The Australian cricket fans, who have had problems with Virat Kohli and his aggressive style of cricket, were quick to applaud him for this gesture. Most of them has tweeted and re-tweeted this video by ICC and thanked Kohli for this genuine gesture.
Cricket has always been a gentleman’s game, and big players like Kohli are making it stay that way. Good to see him grow immensely from an aggressive young player to a calm captain who knows his virtues.
Such an inspiration to the young generation!