‘He did not have to do that...’: Steve Smith ends silence on Virat Kohli’s ‘lovely’ gesture during 2019 World Cup
Australia top-order batsman Steve Smith has broken silence on India captain Virat Kohli’s gesture during the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales last year. During the India-Australia World Cup clash, the ‘Men in Blue’ supporters tried to rile up Smith by mentioning the sandpaper scandal. However, the India captain egged the crowd on to support and not boo Smith soon after his return to international cricket from a one-year suspension for ball-tampering.
Smith finally spoke on the incident and said it was a nice gesture from the Indian skipper, which recently won Kohli International Cricket Council’s (ICC) ‘Spirit of Cricket Award’.
“In the World Cup it was really nice of Virat (Kohli) to do what he did. He did not have to do that and yeah it was a lovely gesture and really appreciated that,” Smith told IANS.
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Smith also praised Kohli’s batting abilities and leadership qualities as he stated: “Yeah, he is terrific. His batting numbers just speak for themselves. I think he’s an incredible player in all three formats and I think we will see him break many records. He’s already broken plenty of them and I see him breaking many more over the years. He has got the hunger for runs and doesn’t stop getting them. Hopefully he can stop getting them against Australia, that’ll be nice.”
After winning the award, Kohli told ICC: “I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things.”
On the Smith incident, he said: “That moment was purely understanding an individual’s situation. I don’t think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of.”
“That should not be a representation of our fans and what we stand as a cricketing nation, a sporting nation. We need to all take responsibility towards that. Intimidate the opposition, definitely try and have an upper hand but in a matter that is not targeting someone emotionally.
“That is not acceptable at any level and people should be wary of that,” he added.