London: Indian fans during the match against Australia at the Oval showed they can intimidate a player by taking on Steven Smith, who was banned for one year on charges of ball tampering.
Supporters shouted “cheater, cheater” when Smith moved towards the third man area after the fall of Hardik Pandya’s wicket.
Kohli, who was batting, heard the commotion and gestured to the crowd to stop booing Smith, with whom he had many intense battles in many matches. The crowd obliged to Kohli’s request and stopped booing.
When Kohli was asked about what happened in the middle with the crowd after the match, he said: “Look, I think what’s happened has happened like long back, the guy (Smith) is back, he’s trying to play well for his side.
“Even in the IPL I saw him, it’s not good to see someone down like that, to be honest.
“We’ve had issues in the past. We’ve had a few arguments on the field. But you don’t want to see a guy feeling that heat every time he goes out to play.
“What’s happened has happened. Everyone has known that. He’s come back. He’s worked hard. He’s playing well for his side now.”
Kohli, referring to why he made his request to the Indian fans, said: “So just because there’s so many Indian fans here, I just didn’t want them to set a bad example, to be honest, because he didn’t do anything to be booed in my opinion. He’s just playing cricket.
“He was just standing there, and I felt bad because if I was in a position where something had happened with me and I had apologised, I accepted it and I came back and still I would get booed, I wouldn’t like it, either.
“So I just felt for him, and I told him, I’m sorry on behalf of the crowd because I’ve seen that happen in a few earlier games, as well, and in my opinion that’s not acceptable.”
When Australian skipper Aaron Finch was asked whether the Indian fans were too imposing, he said: “No, I wasn’t surprised. India have amazing support everywhere they go, everywhere around the world. Their fans are very vocal.
“They’re great to play in front of because they provide so much atmosphere. They’re passionate about the game.
“And being on the other side of it, it’s not ideal, but at the end of the day, no matter where you play, you can play in Melbourne, you can play in Hobart, they’re always going to outnumber you.”
Finch also admitted Indian fans are vociferous. “They are so loud, and they’re a happy crowd. They appreciate good cricket. Obviously they’re there to watch India do well, but they appreciate really good cricket, and when they’re playing their music and chants are going up, it’s a pretty great atmosphere to be a part of, when you win.”