One of the constant features of the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup in England has been the hostile reception meted out to Australia’s Steve Smith and David Warner. And when it happened again as India took on Australia at The Oval, London on Sunday, captain Virat Kohli took it upon himself to ask the fans to applaud Smith instead of booing him.
You can check what Kohli had to say about the incident after the match here.
When Smith moved to the boundary line to field during India’s innings and greeted with boos at a stadium that had majority fans in blue, Kohli was batting in the middle. In between overs, he walked towards that stand, waved to the fans and gestured them to clap at Smith and not boo him. Smith was shown thanking Kohli after that incident.
The Indian captain spoke about it after the match as well:
Kohli’s gesture won him plenty of plaudits on social media.
Australia head coach Justin Langer had earlier called on fans to show Smith and David Warner respect in the World Cup and not jeer them.
The pair, who both recently completed bans for ball-tampering, were given a hostile reception by the crowd at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton during Australia’s World Cup warm-up victory over England and in subsequent matches as well.
There were audible boos, jeers, and chants of “cheat”, but Langer had urged supporters not to repeat that behaviour during the tournament itself.
“You (the media) talk about earning respect, and I think it’s really important that people show respect as well,” Langer had said ahead of five-time winners Australia’s World Cup opener against Afghanistan
In the first innings, Shikhar Dhawan’s 17th ODI hundred (117 off 109 balls) was well complemented by fellow opener Rohit Sharma’s 57 off 70 balls with the openers raising a stand of 127. India posted the highest score (352/5) by any team against Australia in the tournament’s history.
The ever-consistent Kohli (82 off 77 balls) played an effective knock and shared a 92-run stand with Dhawan. Kohli’s sixes off Mitchell Starc – over long-on and extra cover – stood out.
The last 10 overs yielded India 116 runs, primarily due to Hardik Pandya’s whirlwind knock of 48 from 27 balls and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 27-run cameo.