Virat Kohli and Steve Smith may not be the best of the friends in international cricket but Indian captain's gesture at The Oval must have earned the former Australia captain's admiration on Sunday during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter between the two strong rivals.
During India's batting against Australia, Smith was fielding in the deep and was getting a lot of stick from the Indian fans. With Smith constantly being jeered by the fans, Kohli decided to intervene as he signalled towards Indian fans to stop booing and urged them to applaud the former Australian captain.
A thankful Smith was later seen shaking hands with Kohli for his gesture.
In the press conference after the match, Kohli explained the rationale behind his decision.
"Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I don't want them to set a bad example. He (Smith) 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," said Kohli.
Smith and David Warner are back to playing international cricket after serving one-year ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. However, both cricketers have been constantly facing backlash from the fans in the ongoing World Cup which is being hosted in England and Wales.
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
Meanwhile, India continued their winning run in the ICC event with a 36-run win over the defending champions.
The foundation for the win was laid but Shikhar Dhawan who scored 117 off 109 as India put a mammoth 352/5 in 30 overs.
In reply, Australia were bowled out for 316 as Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar took three wickets each.