'Great Player': Pakistani Pacer Mohammad Amir Applauds Kohli on Winning 'Spirit of Cricket' Award
'I'm surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things,' Kohli said in a video released by ICC.
File image of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith / Hotstar screengrab.
Aussie and Indian fans were on the same page during a 50-over World Cup clash at The Oval in England after Indian skipper Virat Kohli's unique yet classy gesture to the crowd won him equal praises from both the cricketing nations.
Recognising his sportsmanship and spirited display, Kohli has been awarded the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ award for 2019 by International Cricket Council (ICC).
Both Steve Smith and David Warner were subjected to constant boos and taunts from the fans in attendance in all their World Cup outings as they made their return to the side after serving a 12-month ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
This, however, was against the liking of the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who on several occasions, gestured to the Indian crowd to stop booing Steve Smith and cheer for him instead.
Upon receiving the award, Kohli expressed his surprise despite staying under the scanner constantly for all the "wrong things".
"I'm surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things," Kohli said in a video released by ICC.
"I don't think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of. You can sledge, can have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in wanting to beat them. But booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport, I don't endorse it.”
Not just the award, Kohli's gesture received universal praise, one of them coming from Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir. Responding to the ICC's video-interview, Amir wrote, "Great words from great player."
Great words from great player— Mohammad Amir (@iamamirofficial) January 15, 2020
After the incident, Kohli had asserted that the booing that came from the Indian fans wasn't acceptable.
"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 had said in the post-match presentation.
Despite their differences, Australian fans had thronged to social media to congratulate the star cricketer for his star attitude during the big game.
"Brilliant from the Indian captain. He has matured so much in the past three or four years. He has always been a great cricketer, and now he is a great cricket ambassador. Much respect, and thank you," wrote one commenter on Cricket Australia's Facebook page.
"As they say you mark a champion not by his words but by his actions. And today we witnessed a true champion with his actions & with his words! Well done VK your class showed when you were here over the summer & its continuing. I am an Aussie thru & thru, this is what cricket needed in the world & in Australia. I would love to see the aussie emulate the same sportsmanship like VK showed. Good luck to the Indian cricket team,(sic)" wrote another.
"Mr Kohli. As an avid senior fan of Australia I can not bring to words the joy I had in watching your magnificent act of sportsmanship last night. You are an absolute champion," chimed in third.
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