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Aussie player Steve Smith praises Virat

June 19, 2019

India cricket captain Virat Kohli has been praised by former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith for asking Indian fans to stop booing him during a match between the two teams at the Kennington Oval on 9 June.

Indian fans were booing Smith who has returned to the Australian team after serving a one-year ban for ball-tampering. Kohli, while batting, made gestures to them to stop booing the Australian player. Smith has said that it was a lovely gesture from the Indian captain.

It was a lovely gesture by Virat. It doesn't really bother me what the crowds do to be perfectly honest. I am just blocking it all out but it was a lovely gesture from him. - Steve Smith, Australian cricketer

At a post-match press conference, Kohli apologised to Smith on behalf of the Indian crowd. "Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I just didn't want them to set a bad example, to be honest, because he didn't do anything to be booed in my opinion. 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". Kohli added that he felt bad for Smith. "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 and David Warner have been repeatedly heckled on the field since their return to the Australian team following their bans for ball-tampering.

Kohli said he felt for Smith in his current situation "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. 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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