Indian captain Virat Kohli is known for his hyper-aggressive nature which can often turn off opposition players. Many are of the view that Kohli’s aggression is somewhat immature and borders on boorishness.
Kohli, who is leading India in ICC ODI World Cup 2019 in England, is never too bothered about these notions. In fact, in the ongoing World Cup, Kohli hasn’t just shown his class with the bat but has also managed to show his maturity and sportsmanship.
In India’s game against Australia at The Oval, an exciting incident happened which brought Kohli to the limelight, for all the right reasons. While India was batting, a section of the Indian contingent of fans began loudly booing Australian Steve Smith – because of his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. Smith has been greeted with boos in every ground in England in this World Cup, mostly by English fans. However, Kohli wasn’t impressed with this behavior by the Indian crowd. As he was completing a single, Kohli gestured towards that area of the ground where the Indians were booing Smith and angrily asked them to clap for the Australian batsman instead of taunting him.
Thankfully, the message was taken from the Indian fans, and the booing ceased immediately.
This gesture by Kohli was caught live, and every cricket fan around the world got to witness this rare, mature, and positive side of Kohli. Former and current cricketers, fans on social media and even noted cricket pundits lauded Kohli’s gesture and called it the best form of ‘Spirit of Cricket.’
Indeed, in an age where social media vitriol and so much anger and negativity has taken over the cricketing world, seeing Kohli going out of his way to do this for his rival was a pleasant sight. Expectedly, it was well appreciated by the entire Australian team; especially Smith himself who has been at the receiving end of countless taunts ever since his return to international cricket.
“There are so many Indian fans here; I just didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest. He didn’t do anything to be booed, in my opinion. He’s just playing cricket. I mean he’s just standing there, and I felt bad because if I were in a position where something had happened with me, and I’d apologized and accepted it, and I came back, and still I get booed, I wouldn’t like it either,” Kohli said to the press after the end of the game.
“So I just felt for him and told him ‘sorry for… on behalf of the crowd’. We’ve seen that happen in a few earlier games as well. In my opinion, that’s not acceptable,” he added.
This much-needed gesture by Kohli will go a long way in improving his image globally. He is adored and followed by millions of kids around the world and showing such excellent sportsman spirit makes him the rightful icon of modern day cricket.
Virat Kohli’s transformation, from a young and brash cricketer to a batting superstar along with a mature and inspiring global sportsman, has been rather incredible. This incident will only make his image stronger than ever.