Australia superstar Steve Smith said he appreciated Virat Kohli’s gesture during the 2019 World Cup match when the Indian captain asked fans to stop booing and appreciate the former.

Speaking during Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’, Smith spoke about his interactions with the Indian skipper and said he was looking forward to the team’s tour of Australia later this year.

Kohli had won the ICC’s Spirit of Cricket award in 2019 for stopping fans from booing Australia’s Smith during their World Cup match at the Oval.

“I have had a few conversations with him off the field. A few messages here and there in recent times just to see how things are going on in India and what have you,” Smith said.

Kohli’s exhibition of grace towards Smith was extraordinary in more ways than one

Both Smith and Warner were at the receiving end of constant booing and heckling from fans during the summer of 2019 (World Cup followed by Ashes) for their roles in the infamous Sandpaper-gate scandal. The ball-tampering episode in Cape Town in 2018 had led to bans for the Australian duo.

And during the match against India, Kohli — during a drinks break — gestured a section of fans to applaud Smith instead of booing him.

“He is a terrific guy and we both play hard out on the field, try and win, or play as well as we can for our respective teams.

“That’s part of the game. Virat, obviously, in the World cup made the gesture to the Indian fans who were giving me and Davey a little bit of stick. I appreciated that [gesture] and I shared that with him straight up. He’s a terrific guy and you know, the way he has led the Indian team has been amazing,” Smith added.

India are scheduled to tour Australia later in 2020 and having missed the previous series due to the ban, Smith said he was looking forward to a special duel.

“Can’t wait really, to play when they come over to Australia this year. It’s going to be incredibly special,” the former captain said.

“I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things,” Kohli had said regarding his Spirit of Cricket award. “It is part of camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other. That moment was purely understanding an individual’s situation.”