India on Sunday defeated Australia by 36 runs but that was not the only highlight of the game, played at The Oval in London. Skipper Virat Kohli too shone with the bat and played a superb knock of 88 runs. However, the match also became special for an incredible gesture of sportsman spirit displayed by the Indian skipper. This also evoked special reactions from his wife Anushka Sharma.
When Kohli was batting, Australian player Steve Smith was sent to the boundary for fielding. It was here when Smith began to face incessant booing from the Indian fans. Soon, Kohli came to his rescue as he angrily asked Indian fans to stop harassing Smith and instead clap for the Australian player.
He later went to Smith and apologised on behalf of the Indian fans for their bad behaviour. An overwhelmed Smith thanked Kohli for his incredible gesture.
Later speaking to reporters, Kohli said, “He (Smith) has apologised, and come back. He has been down. It is not okay to boo & didn’t want Indian crowd to set a bad example. He doesn’t deserve to be booed. So I apologised to him on behalf of the crowd.”
He added, “Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I didn’t want them to set a bad example. He didn’t do anything to be booed in my opinion.”
This gesture by Kohli earned him plenty of plaudits.
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
Industrialist Naveen Jindal wrote, “Great gesture and sportsmanship from the Indian skipper #ViratKohli . Well done! ”
— Naveen Jindal (@MPNaveenJindal) June 10, 2019
Bollywood actress and Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma took to Instagram to show how her husband’s gesture had left her smitten. She wrote, “Aggressive player, benevolent man- so easy to love.”
Former Australian batsman Darren Lehmann wrote, “Class act @imVkohli.” Cricketer Rahul Sharma commented, “That’s why he’s legend.” Bollywood actor Reteish Deshmukh wrote, “That’s our Captian!!!” Actor Rahul Bose wrote, “The @imVkohli gesture towards @stevesmith49 will be remembered for yrs. It is these stories that get passed from generation to generation because we know we watched something genuine, something essentially good. I know. I was there. Sitting right above the people he gestured to.”
— Yashwant Deshmukh 🇮🇳 (@YRDeshmukh) June 10, 2019
— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) June 10, 2019
Steve Smith had faced a ban with teammate David Warner for a year for the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test in South Africa. Since then, both have found themselves at the receiving end of poor crowd behaviour. Smith was also in the news for his rivalry with Kohli during the four-test series in India in 2017.