Virat Kohli won the ICC's Spirit of Cricket Award on Wednesday and said that he was surprised to win it after a history of being in the news for all the wrong reasons.
After winning the award, he said, "I'm surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things. That moment was purely understanding an individual's situation. I don't think a guy who is coming out of a situation like that needs to be taken advantage of. You can sledge, you can have banter on the field you can say things to the opposition in terms of wanting to beat them, but booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport and I don't endorse it and that should not be a representation of our fans and what we as a cricketing nation and as a sporting nation."
He added, "We need to all take responsibility for that. Intimidate the opposition, definitely try and have an upper hand but in a matter that is not targeting someone emotionally. That is not acceptable at any level and people should be wary of that."
Fans were delighted with the award and took to Twitter to express their happiness.
Kohli won the ICC spirit of the award for asking India fans to clap for Steve Smith rather than mocking him for Sandpaper incident during the World Cup 2019. That's King Kohli for you 🔥👏#ICCAwards pic.twitter.com/TXvNLTBKi6— SaChin Tiwari (@Tivari_BhAiYA) January 15, 2020
Who would have imagined a young brat from Delhi could win "Spirit of the game" award ??? This shows how much Kohli has improved as a person. https://t.co/uR0cdKVj3K— Praful Tickoo (@prafultickoo) January 15, 2020
The incident refers to fans seemingly jeering Australia's star batsman Steve Smith when he took to the field at the World Cup versus India, following his year-long suspension over the infamous ball-tampering controversy that also included his then-Vice Captain David Warner. At that time, Virat Kohli had backed Steve Smith and asked fans to applaud him instead.