World Cup 2019: It's not good to see someone down, says Virat Kohli
Skipper Virat says he apologised to Smith at The Oval over unacceptable behaviour by Indian fans, who called him a cheater while he was fielding
Virat Kohli has had a history of run-ins with Australian cricketers. However, on Sunday, it was the start of a new chapter that had a humane touch to it.
In 2017, after the ill-tempered Test series against Australia which was wrapped up in Dharamsala, Kohli had declared that he is no longer friends with the Australian cricketers. However, a lot has happened since. Smith was banned for a year for ball tampering, stripped off his captaincy and criticised worldwide. Sunday saw a different side of Kohli, who urged the vociferous Indian fans at The Oval not to subject Smith with boos and cheater chants when the Australian was fielding near the fence.
A screen grab shows Virat Kohli asking fans to cheer for Steven Smith instead of calling him a cheater
Later, in the post-match press conference, Kohli justified his actions and even apologised to Smith for the treatment meted to him by the Indian fans. "Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I didn't want them to set a bad example because he [Smith] hasn't done anything to be booed in my opinion. He's just playing cricket. He was just standing there, and I felt bad. If I was in a position where something similar had happened to me and I had apologised and accepted it and came back and was still being booed then 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," said Kohli, who felt that since Smith has already been penalised for his mistake, that [ball tampering] chapter should be left behind.
"Whatever happened, happened 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. 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 the heat every time he goes out to play," Kohli added.
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