Virat Kohli stepped in when Steve Smith was getting stick..

Virat Kohli asked India fans not to boo Steve Smith and applaud instead

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Fans certainly haven't gotten over Steve Smith's role in 'Sandpapergate' last year.

The Australian was banned for a year for his role in the ball-tampering incident, only making his return for this year's World Cup.

And the batsman has been greeted quite negatively by fans of rival countries.

India supporters, for instance, booed Smith during their country's 36-run victory over Australia on Sunday.

Smith was in the field near the boundary where he got plenty of stick from the opposition fans, prompting a reaction from Virat Kohli.

Kohli, who was batting at the time, heard the abuse directed towards Smith and walked towards the fans.

There, he motioned for the booing to stop, instead asking for applause for one of the greatest batsmen in the world.

You can check out Kohli's gesture below:

After the match, Kohli explained exactly why he felt the need to step in and change the mood.

"What has happened is in the past, I felt bad for him," he said, per the BBC.

"We've had issues in the past, we have had arguments on the field. But you don't want to see a guy feeling that heat every time he goes out to play."

Kohli oversaw India's victory over Australia.

Smith clearly appreciated the gesture, too.

While he's yet to comment himself, he did make sure to thank Kohli as he walked back to the crease.

As for the match itself, Kohli beat Smith on the run-count, with 82 to the Australian's 69.

That distance went some way to securing the 36-run win, maintaining India's 100% start to the World Cup.

India cricket
Australia cricket
Steven Smith
Virat Kohli

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