We often talk about the spirit of the game and cricket no longer being a ‘gentleman’s game.’ However, things like what Virat Kohli did on June 9 make us believe that the future isn’t as bleak as we thought to be. During the match against Australia at the Oval in London, former Australia captain Steve Smith was asked to field in the deep – near the stands – and was facing severe booing from a group of Indian fans. Unable to bear it, Kohli intervened and gestured to the crowd to stop it. Instead, he pointed to Smith and asked people to cheer for him.
While Smith was standing close to the crowd, chants of ‘cheater, cheater’ were going on. India was close to the end of their innings when Hardik Pandya was dismissed. Kohli was at the crease and realised that the crowd was not about to stop. He turned to the crowd, pointed at Smith and gestured to ‘clap’ for him instead. Kohli also stopped the crowd from going rowdy when Smith came out to bat. The Aussie scored a good knock of 69 but couldn’t see his team through.