Back after serving a one-year suspension for the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Smith, despite a string of impressive performances, has been getting hostile reception at every English ground at the marquee event.
During the clash with India, which Australia lost by 36 runs, the Indian fans booed Smith and chanted “cheater, cheater” when the defending champions were fielding. Kohli, who was batting at the time, urged them to calm down and instead cheer his batting.
With India fans giving Steve Smith a tough time fielding in the deep, @imVkohli suggested they applaud the Australian instead.
— ICC (@ICC) 9 June 2019
“It was a lovely gesture by Virat,” Smith told reporters after Australia’s victory to Sri Lanka.
Smith said the frequent booing and heckling by the English crowd doesn’t affect him but appreciated Kohli’s gesture nonetheless.
“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,” Smith said.
Kohli and Smith have had their run-ins in the past including the infamous ‘Brain fade’ controversy during a 2017 Test match in Bengaluru, where Smith was seen seeking help for a referral from the dressing room.
But during their World Cup clash, the two players were seen shaking hands after the former gestured the fans to show some restraint.
“I just felt for him, and I told him, ‘I’m sorry on behalf of the crowd because I have seen that happen in a few earlier games as well’. In my opinion, that’s not acceptable,” Kohli had said after the match.
“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,” Kohli said.