Fans in England have, not surprisingly, given Steven Smith and David Warner rough welcomes this World Cup booing and chanting ‘cheater’ each time they take field, and it was no different against India at The Oval on Sunday (June 9). However, it didn’t go down well with Virat Kohli and he made it very clear during the match and after the game as well. The Indian captain twice asked them to stop booing Smith, asking them to instead to cheer for him.
“I think what’s happened has happened long back. The guy is back, trying to play well for his side. Even in the IPL I saw him, it’s not good to see a guy feel down. You don’t want to see someone feel the heat every time he plays. Just because there are so many Indian fans here, I don’t want them to set a bad example. He didn’t do anything to be booed in my opinion. I felt for him and told him sorry on behalf of the crowd. In my opinion that’s not acceptable.” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.
The first occasion came in the Indian innings, when Smith fielded briefly at third man. The crowd at the Vauxhall End welcomed him to the deep with loud chants of ‘cheater’ prompting Kohli to signal in their direction. The second occasion came when Smith walked in to bat. The entire ground gave him a rough welcome, but the former Australian batsman found support in the Indian captain.
India had posted 352/5 while batting first, with Kohli scoring 82. Australia fell 36 runs short in their chase and were handed their first defeat of the 2019 campaign.