For Steve Smith, Virat Kohli’s gesture defending him at Oval was ‘lovely’
Smith was booed by the crowd during the India-Australia World Cup fixture.
Published - Jun 19, 2019 10:16 am | Updated - Jun 19, 2019 11:48 am
India captain Virat Kohli is not just offering inspiring captaincy to his team and scoring runs but he is also standing tall as a statesman of the game in the ongoing ICC World Cup. On June 9, Kohli came up with a heart-melting gesture defending Steve Smith against his own supporters after he was booed during the India-Australia game at the Oval. Kohli asked the fans to cheer the Australian batter instead and apologised to Smith on their behalf. The latter was also seen acknowledging Kohli’s kind gesture.
Smith made a return to international cricket along with David Warner after serving a year-long ban after the Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa in March last year. The two have been experiencing hostile spectators since the time they set foot on the English soil because of that incident. While English fans have been booing the duo religiously, the Indian fans also joined the chorus at the Oval and chanted “cheater” targeting Smith. The cricketer was also booed when he scored a hundred in a warm-up game against England prior to the World Cup.
Kohli said at a press conference later that he didn’t want the Indian fans set up a bad example by booing Smith. He also said that it didn’t look good that a player, despite saying sorry and undergoing the hardships, facing such humiliating treatment.
What did Smith say about the gesture that Kohli, a batsman who was considered his biggest competitor in modern-day cricket till he faced the ban, say? For the 30-year-old, it was indeed a “lovely gesture”.
Crowd’s behaviour doesn’t bother Smith
“Yeah, it was a lovely gesture. It doesn’t really bother me what the crowd do to be perfectly honest, I’m just sort of blocking it all out but it was a lovely gesture from Virat, that’s for sure,” ESPN Cricinfo quoted the former Australia cricketer as saying. Smith was in charge of the Australian team while Warner was his deputy when the ball-tampering scandal broke out in SA.
Australia went through a torrid time since the duo got banned as the Kangaroos found it difficult to fill their big shoes. However, the defending champions started showing form since March and after the return of Smith and Warner, they have done well in this World Cup. Aaron Finch’s side is sitting pretty with eight points from five games in this World Cup, losing their only game to India.
Though he hasn’t scored a hundred yet like Warner in the tournament so far, he has three fifties in five games and two of them went on to win his team. His 73 against the West Indies was particularly key for it played a big role in turning the tables around after the Australians lost half their side for 70-odd.