XtraTime Web Desk: Indian captain Virat Kohli on Sunday set a perfect example of spirit of cricket during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against reigning champions Australia. Kohli gestured a section of the Indian fans at the Oval to stop booing at Steve Smith.
Smith, who was banned for 12 months for ball-tampering last year, has been booed persistently since his return to international cricket. He received a hostile reception when he went to field on the boundary edge in front of the Oval’s OCS stand today but Kohli gestured to the Indian fans to get off his back. Kohli also looked in dismay when Smith was booed as he came out to bat and acknowledged his fifty. Former Australia captain Smith scored 69 but could not prevent India from winning by 36 runs.
“Look, I think what’s happened has happened like long back, the guy is back, he’s trying to play well for his side. Even in the IPL I saw him, it’s not good to see someone down like that, to be honest. 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 goes out to play. What’s happened has happened. Everyone has known that. He’s come back. He’s worked hard. He’s playing well for his side now.”
He added, “So just because there’s so many Indian fans here, I just didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest, because he didn’t do anything to be booed in my opinion. 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 apologized, I accepted it and I came back and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it, either. 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.”
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 9, 2019