Team India’s thrilling win over the Aussies on Sunday gave us a plethora of points to talk about. While Shikhar Dhawan’s dazzling century, Adam Zampa’s hand warmers and Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting back to form were some of them, Virat Kohli’s heartfelt gesture towards Steven Smith is the one that stood out.
Steven Smith along with his partner in crime David Warner has been greeted with mockery and boos ever since their return to international cricket after serving a year-long ban for the infamous ball-tampering incident that took place during a match against the Proteas. The case has been no different in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, where the Aussie duo was taunted by fans dressed as sandpaper bags in their very first match against Afghanistan.
While Warner faced the lion’s share of disrespect in that match, Steve Smith faced the wrath of unwelcoming crowds in their match against India. The fidgety player, who was fielding at the boundary was booed by a bunch of Indians fans at The Oval.
The incident caught the eye of Indian skipper Virat Kohli who was at the crease and in cruise control. In an act of pure class, Kohli walked down the ground towards the stand and asked the fans to clap for Smith instead of booing him.
The wholehearted gesture was appreciated by Steve Smith himself as he instantly shook hands with Virat and gave him a pat on his back. It was a wonderful moment to witness between two players who are considered as the very bests in the world.
With India fans giving Steve Smith a tough time fielding in the deep, @imVkohli suggested they applaud the Australian instead.
— ICC (@ICC) June 9, 2019
Here is a picture that’s worth everything.
Speaking about his actions in the post-match press conference, Kohli showed us why he is a brilliant ambassador of the sport. The Indian number 18 made it clear that Smith did nothing to deserve a hostile reception from the Indian fans and it was absolutely unacceptable.
“I think what’s happened has happened long back. The guy is back, trying to play well for his side. Even in the IPL I saw him, it’s not good to see a guy feel down. You don’t want to see someone feel the heat every time he plays. Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I don’t want them to set a bad example. He didn’t do anything to be booed in my opinion. I felt for him and told him sorry on behalf of the crowd. In my opinion that’s not acceptable.”
While India won the match, Kohli won a million hearts yesterday.
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) June 9, 2019
Virat Kohli's asking the Indians in the Oval to applaud Steve Smith is such a great gesture. I have seen many amazing cricketers over the years. Rarely seen someone change his game and his attitude so much over a decade. He is an absolute inspiration!
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) June 9, 2019
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) June 9, 2019
Virat Kohli asked fans to stop chants of "cheater cheater" directed at Steve Smith who was fielding at the boundary.
— Sir Jadeja fan (@SirJadeja) June 9, 2019
Great sportsmanship earlier by Virat Kohli which was appreciated by Steve Smith – telling the Indian fans to stop booing Smith when he was fielding on the boundary #INDvAUS #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/fehhWKD0fn
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) June 9, 2019
Pic 1 : virat kohli getting booed and abused in 2012 from aus crowd in SCG
— Karan.Gill ☬ (@KaranGill79) June 9, 2019
Kohli ask Indian fans to stop calling "Smith" a cheater.
And requested to give him a big applause
— Ravishankar VPRM (@ravisha56836868) June 9, 2019
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) June 9, 2019
— Rajat Sharma (@RajatSharmaLive) June 9, 2019
Class act @imVkohli 👍.
— Darren Lehmann (@darren_lehmann) June 9, 2019
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) June 9, 2019
— Justin Stevens (@_JustinStevens_) June 10, 2019
Virat Kohli is not only a great cricketer he is also a great human. Respect for King Kohli. 👏 https://t.co/xWd9wWJ1w4
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) June 9, 2019
From being bullied by a crowd and losing his cool to stopping a crowd from bullying an opposition player & asking them to applaud instead , Virat Kohli has come a long way. Absolute Champ! #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/rUqgPeQbBJ
— Roshan Rai (@RoshanKrRai) June 9, 2019
— Dimuth Karunaratne (@IamDimuth) June 9, 2019
That is very reason @imVkohli is respected not only because he is a great player but he is a good human being too.There may be many great players but hardly good hearted like him. Kohli is a role model for our new generation as how to stand even for your rivals when they are down https://t.co/vuFNHCJOwQ
— Rauf Klasra (@KlasraRauf) June 10, 2019
For me, Virat Kohli is now the greatest cricketer in the world today. With that awesome gesture last night, his rise as a BIG man/captain is also complete. Have a big ❤️ guys. Perfect #MondayMotivation @imVkohli
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) June 10, 2019
Kohli also revealed that he apologised to Steve Smith on behalf of the crowd. If cricket is the ‘Gentleman’s Game’, players like Virat Kohli are the gentlemen in it.