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ICC World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli on Steve Smith getting booed by crowd, says it's not acceptable

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 June 2019, 8:31 IST

After Virat Kohli won hearts on social media for his great gesture and sportsmanship spirit, where he signalled to the Indian fans not to jeer at Steve Smith, the Indian skipper on Sunday, said that such a thing was not acceptable.

"I just felt for him (Smith) and I told him 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," he told reporters at the post-match press conference here after India defeated Australia by 36 runs.

"What happened, happened long back. He's back, trying to play well for his side. Not good to see someone down like that...You don't want to see a guy feeling heat every time he goes out to play," Kohli said.

As India and Australia locked horns at The Oval in London today, Indian batsmen, including Kohli, were smashing the Australian bowlers for runs. In between the overs, Smith was sent to the boundary line. It was at that time that some Indian fans started booing at him and chanted "cheater, cheater".

Kohli, who was batting at that time, took notice of it and was clearly not happy with the fans' gestures. Showing his classy side, the Indian captain turned towards the stand and gestured at the fans to cheer for Smith and not boo at him.

The Indian skipper's act was appreciated by Smith, who came up to him, shook his hand and patted him on the back during the drinks break. The two players have had their share of bitter banter in the past.

"There are many Indian fans here, I didn't want them to set a bad example because he (Smith) didn't do anything to be booed. I felt bad because if I was in a position where something happened and I had apologised, accepted and came back, still I get booed I wouldn't like it either," Kohli said.

Lauding his team for delivering a clinical performance against Australia, Kohli remarked, "We had to be at the top of our game. All three departments set the tone the way we wanted -- With the batting front, getting a very good opening partnership, I got runs and Hardik (Pandya) played outstandingly well. MS (Dhoni) played his role perfectly. KL (Rahul) struck the ball beautifully.

"I think we played really good one day game today, something that any team would want to do," he added.

The 30-year-old skipper said that his team has a "good bowling-line up" and said that there is "a lot of depth in the batting line-up."

"They (bowlers understand their strengths. You give them the ball in any situation and they know what to do. Holding wickets in hand is important and we batted in a balanced way. We are well equipped," Kohli said.

Heaping praises on Pandya for his stupendous batting performance, Kohli said that the team management has always backed him because of his game-changing abilities.

"He knows he is batting really well. In the past, he sometimes tried too hard. What IPL has done for his batting is he believes that he can clear the boundary whenever he wants. He is timing the ball so well and he is not overhitting the ball," he said.

"He doesn't really care what tournament he is playing. He just wants to go out there and express himself. He should always stick to that strength. We are delighted to see him come back so strongly," Kohli added.

Asked whether India was on course of booking a place in the semifinals after notching up two consecutive wins, the Indian skipper said it was too early to speculate.

"In my opinion, it is too early to decide that. After six games, we will be in a better position to know where we stand in the tournament. We couldn't ask for a better start against two strong sides (Australia and South Africa)," he said.

Responding to a question on Shikhar Dhawan's injury, Kohli said, "I am not too sure at the moment. I just came out of the field. Patrick (Farhart) is in control of the situation and he will give an update by tomorrow."

Dhawan suffered a blow on his finger while attempting to play a short ball from Pat Cummins in the ninth over of the match. However, he continued batting after receiving medical attention and scored his 17th ODI ton.

Meanwhile, Australian skipper Aaron Finch congratulated India for their victory and praised him for assessing the conditions well.

"India bowled really well with the new ball. I thought if we had wickets in hand, we could potentially do some damage. We kept on losing wickets while matching up with the run rate. We were in a decent position and we lost wickets at key times," he said.

India dished out a clinical performance as they defeated Australia by 36 runs in their second match of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup at The Oval on Sunday.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, the Men in Blue posted 352 for 5 off their 50 overs. Indian batsmen made a mockery of the Australian bowling attack as they plundered runs. While Dhawan, who was adjudged Man of the Match, for top-scoring with 117, Kohli smashed 82.

Rohit Sharma scored 57, Pandya made a quickfire 48 off 27 balls and Dhoni chipped in with a useful 27 runs.

Defending 352, Indian bowlers did not allow the Australian batsmen to score freely as they bowled tight lines to ensure that the match did not go out of their hand.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were the picks of the bowlers, scalping three wickets each. Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 2 for 62 in his 10 overs.

India will now face New Zealand on June 13 at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.


First published: 10 June 2019, 8:31 IST