• It's fair to say Virat Kohli isn't chasing any spirit of cricket trinkets at the ICC World Cup in England and Wales when he encouraged India fans to clap Steve Smith at third man.
• That's because Kohli had walked in Smith's shoes, when India toured Australia last summer, without committing any heinous acts.
Virat Kohli, some members of the New Zealand Press Box panel on Sky TV will have you believe, was grandstanding when he walked up to the India fans to ask them to applaud disgraced Australia cricketer Steve Smith rather than mock him in England this week.
With host Bernadine Oliver-Kerby throwing a dog bone out there on the weekly half-hour sport programme on Wednesday, she couldn't figure out what Kohli's intentions were during the ICC World Cup match which India won by 36 runs on Sunday.
"Heroic, gentlemanly, gallant or just embarrassing that your opposition encourages the crowd to clap for you," Oliver-Kerby said of the gesture to her couch guests, Martin Devlin, Abby Wilson, Justin Morgan and Andrew Gourdie, amid a collective head shake of something sinister.
Smith, who was at the helm as skipper when the Aussies were caught tampering with the ball in what can be dubbed the "sand paper scandal" last year in South Africa, was fielding at third man when India allrounder Hardik Pandya was dismissed at the Kennington Oval in London.
Boos and chants of "cheater, cheater" have been a staple diet for him and opening batsman David Warner, even when the Aussies were playing warm-up matches building to the one-day international tournament.
A scowling Kohli, who was at the other end of the batting crease as Pandya was departing, strode out towards the offending section of the stand, gesticulating to the fans to cut out the heckling.
Instead, he pointed towards Smith and clapped with his gloved hands to denote good sportsmanship following the dismissal.
"Look, I think what's happened has happened like long back, the guy is back, he's trying to play well for his side," the India captain told the media scrum after the game.
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Smith and Warner have served a one-year suspension although Sir Ian Botham, a former England great and commentator, had stoked the fire pre-tournament on how the pair could possibly return so quickly after taking cheating to a different level before forecasting the cricketers would draw the ire of spectators.
Kohli said: "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."
Gourdie felt Kohli was putting his hand up for the "ICC Spirit of Cricket Award" while Devlin simply labelled Smith a "dick" who was receiving his just desserts.
Morgan confessed to "liking" Smith although it was "take him or leave him" with Warner but wasn't sold on Kohli's gesture.
However, anyone who happened to be at a cricket venue in Australia last summer, when India had toured the continent, would have known why the 30-year-old had opted for diplomacy.
I was at the Sydney Cricket Ground to watch the fourth and final test match between the countries when Aussie fans had persistently heckled captain Kohli.
He strode out on to the batting crease to jeers and left to a chorus of boos in just about every shot he played or blocked.
With some bad blood between the sides in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne, the smattering of Aussie fans had positioned themselves at vantage points to try to unsettle Kohli.
At the SCG, during a change of overs, the ground announcer had appealed to the pockets of cantankerous crowd not to forget the spirit of sportsmanship.
When Kohli arrived in Napier for the opening ODI in January, I had asked him at a press conference on how he handled that sort of torment at the crease but the adroit batsman had dismissed it as water off a duck's back.
"It's an honour to step on to the field for my country so I don't necessarily have to have the crowd on my side or against my side," he had said at McLean Park before the start of the Netmeds Series Trophy campaign on January 23.
"Whether there's one person in the stadium or 50,000, I still have to go there to do my job so that's the mindset I've been in the past two to three years."
It was something Kohli had encountered in the middle phase of his career in 2014-15.
"I used to feed off those things then because I needed something to boost me up but now, being the captain of the team, I don't need to focus on those things," said the bloke who boasts 41 ODI centuries and 50 half tons. "I have a greater responsibility now which I understand."
Warner seems to feed off that but it's not fair that his wife and two little daughters, sporting his name on their Australia mini-replica shirts, should be exposed to that sort of ridicule in the stands.
Consequently, Kohli knows only too well what it feels to be denigrated out there after breaking the mould of how India are the ultimate "nice guys" of international cricket. He is paying the price for standing up to Australia, like no India captain had before.
Needless to say, the legions of India spectators during the Australia tour had stayed out of any confrontations with their counterparts in the continent, if what I saw at the SCG was anything to go by. The world cup, for them, is "neutral ground" and Smith fair game for committing a more heinous act than on-field banter and sledging.
For the record, the Ockers had stayed away from the fourth test in droves and those who had gathered enough courage to walk through the turnstiles had sported poker faces that had failed to disguise the hurt and shame. Some I had struck a conversation with had juxtaposed the sand paper shame with the underarm bowling saga while others thought it was worse.
Guest panellist Gourdie made a comeback to endorse that when he alluded to how many Aussie TV viewers had switched to the Matildas playing at the women's Fifa World Cup in France than watch their disgraced cricketers.
Bowler Adam Zampa, sticking his fingers into "finger warmers" — something golfers also tend to use in chilly climes — before his deliveries has added fuel to the fire.
It comes across like the sort of prank Glenn Maxwell would play so was Zampa taking the mickey in pretending like he was walking through the metal detector at the airport with a toy gun? Maybe that's why he is in the naughty chair against Sri Lanka tonight.
Jokes aside, who is to say there's nothing — akin to substances used in shining balls such as hair gel or lolly resin — in the warmer in Zampa's pockets?
It seems as if world cricket will have to police the pockets of players, in the mould of airport security, in the near future.
"They should sew their pockets up and not be allowed any pocket — the Australians — for the next five years," guest panellist Wilson suggested.
Forever, if you ask me.
For what it's worth, Zampa tweaked poorly and should make way for Nathan Lyon as a No 1 spinner although it's still a lottery on what sort of pitch will greet players at any given venue.