Indian captain Virat Kohli sympathised and apologised on behalf of the crowd after former Australian skipper Steven Smith was heckled during Sunday’s World Cup fixture at The Oval in London.
Smith was fielding on the boundary during India’s innings – and was the subject of ‘Cheater!’ taunts from spectators. Kohli, batting at the time, gestured at the crowd to stop jeering Smith.
‘Just because there’re so many Indian fans here, I didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest, because he didn’t do anything to be booed, in my opinion,’ said Kohli.
‘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 apologised, 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.’
Smith recently return to international cricket after completing a ban for ball-tampering during Australia’s Test tour of South Africa last year. Former vice-captain David Warner served the same sanction. Kohli played against both during the Indian Premier League earlier this year.
‘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,’ he added.
‘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.’
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