Virat Kohli on Wednesday was selected as the winner of 2019 ICC Spirit of Cricket Award and the India captain said he was surprised as he’s often been in focus for controversial things. Kohli’s gesture towards a section of fans to stop booing Steve Smith and instead applaud him during India’s world cup clash with Australia got him the award.

Smith had later thanked Kohli for his ‘ lovely gesture’.

“I’m surprised that I have got it, after many years of being under the scanner for the wrong things,” Kohli said.

Explaining his gesture, Kohli said he is against booing, calling it against the spirit of any sport. “It is part of camaraderie that sportsmen must have with each other. 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, can have have banter on the field, you say things to the opposition in wanting to beat them. But booing someone is not in the spirit of any sport, I don’t endorse it,” Kohli said.

Kohli said fans should be wary of such things and avoid targeting someone emotionally. ” Also, that should not be a representation of our fans and what we stand as a cricketing nation, a sporting nation. We need to all take responsibility towards 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,” he said.

ICC Men’s Cricket Awards Full list of Awards

Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for Best Cricketer of the Year Ben Stokes (England)

Test Cricketer of the Year Pat Cummins (Australia)

ODI Cricketer of the Year Rohit Sharma (India)

T20I Performance of the Year Deepak Chahar (India, 6-7 v Bangladesh)

Emerging Cricketer of the Year Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

Associate Cricketer of the Year Kyle Coetzer (Scotland)

Spirit of Cricket Award Virat Kohli stopping the fans booing Steve Smith at the Oval

David Shepherd Trophy for Umpire of the Year Richard Illingworth