India captain Virat Kohli insisted it was “not acceptable” for his side’s fans to boo Steve Smith during the team’s World Cup victory over Australia in London on Sunday.
Both Smith and fellow Australia batsman David Warner have been on the receiving end of jeers from opposition fans at the World Cup following their return to the international arena after serving year-long bans for their respective roles during a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
After India completed a 36-run win over the reigning champions, Kohli told reporters he had apologised to Smith for the chants of “cheater” directed from the stands towards the former Australia captain.
Virat Kohli asks fans to stop cheater chants directed at Steve Smith
“We’ve had a few issues in the past, a few arguments on the field, but you don’t want to see a guy feeling that every time he goes out to play.”
“He (Smith) is coming back, he’s playing hard and just getting on with it. There were a lot of Indian fans here and I just didn’t want them to set a bad example,” said Kohli.
“He didn’t do anything to be booed, he was just playing cricket. If I was in a position where something had happened to me, where I had apologised, accepted it and then came back I wouldn’t like it either.
“I just told him ‘sorry on behalf of the crowd’. In my opinion I didn’t think that was acceptable,” he added.