Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team skipper, has had a hostile relationship with the Australian public. In 2012, during the Sydney Test, he showed the middle finger to a section of the crowd that had been constantly abusing him while in 2014/15, his confrontations with the Australian players had not made him a very popular figure. In the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in 2018, Kohli was subject to boos from a small section of the crowd at the stadium and this has led to sharp criticism from former skipper Ricky Ponting and Travis Head, who smashed a vital fifty in the first innings.
“I don't like seeing it at all. It didn't worry me as a player when it happened in England a couple of times. You've almost got to accept it as acknowledgement for what you've done in the game. It'll be water off a duck's back (for Kohli), I'm sure. He's probably had worse things happen to him on a cricket field,” Ponting told the official Cricket Australia website.
Ponting had faced plenty of booing from the crowd during Australia’s Ashes series in England in 2009. This is not the first instance that Kohli has been booed. Apart from Australia, the Indian skipper was booed in an IPL game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians and this came in for sharp criticism from Kohli at that time.
The Australian crowds have often targeted players from the opposition, most notably England pacer Stuart Broad during the 2013/14 Ashes series Down Under. Broad had refused to walk for a catch in the Trent Bridge Test in the previous series and this led to plenty of criticism.
Travis Head, who scored a vital 72 in the first innings to restrict Australia’s deficit, also criticised the behaviour of the crowd. “He's a pretty good player and probably doesn't deserve to be booed but that's how it is. It's probably not needed but that's the crowd,” Head said.
India are gunning for a win in Adelaide as they look to break their hoodoo Down Under and register their first-ever Test series win in Australia.