Indian skipper Virat Kohli put up an exemplary show of sportsmanship on Sunday when an overpowering crowd of Indian supporters decided to sledge Australian cricketer Steve Smith while fielding against India in the World Cup clash at The Oval. Chants of “cheater” began reverberating in the stands as soon as Smith was positioned to field in the stands. Indian skipper Virat Kohli who was on the crease at the time when fans booed Smith made an intervention, asking them to stop the chants and instead applaud him as a mark of respect for an athlete.
Smith was impressed by Kohli’s gesture and patted the Indian cricketer’s back to express his gratitude.
Watch video: Virat Kohli stops Indian fans from calling Steve Smith a cheater
At the post-match press conference, Kohli said that Smith didn’t deserve to be booed and that he apologised to him on behalf of the Indian crowd present at the stadium. Kohli said that he didn’t want Indian fans to set a bad example and thus he intervened. He added that Smith was playing his game and he didn’t do anything to be booed.
“He’s just playing cricket. He was just standing there, and 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 said.
“So 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,” the skipper added.
Smith and David Warner were banned from ODI games by the Cricket Australia for a year over the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test in South Africa in March 2018. Since then, they have been at the receiving end for cheating during games to win.
India faced Australia in the second game of its ICC World Cup campaign in The Oval on Sunday. Batting first, India put a total of 352 on the scoreboard for the Aussies. While left-hand batsman Shikhar Dhawan slammed the 17th ton of his ODI career, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli also scored half centuries to power India post a total of 352 runs. The Indian bowlers bowled out Aussies for 316, handing them the first defeat in the ongoing World Cup.