Naveen-ul-Haq on 'Kohli, Kohli' chants: ‘I enjoy it, gives me passion to play well for my team’

Naveen-ul-Haq on Kohli, Kohli chants: ‘I enjoy it, gives me passion to play well for my team’

Naveen-ul-Haq on 'Kohli, Kohli' chants: ‘I enjoy it, gives me passion to play well for my team’


  • Mumbai defeated Lucknow by 81 runs in Eliminator on Wednesday
  • Naveen-ul-Haq picked up 4 wickets in the game
  • MI will next take on GT in Qualifier 2 on Friday

Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) pacer Naveen-ul-Haq has said the fans’ ruthless taunting and chants of ‘Kohli Kohli’ have only boosted his confidence further in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.

Naveen has been on the receiving end from taunts and booing from fans after he was involved with a heated exchange with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) star Virat Kohli during their match on May 1 in Lucknow. Following the incident, every time Naveen has taken field, the fans have not spared him. But the Afghanistan fast bowler has managed to be unfazed.

During the Eliminator fixture between LSG and Mumbai Indians (MI) in Chennai on Wednesday, the Chepauk crowd continued to taunt as Naveen took the ball. However, he won that battle by dismissing MI opener Rohit Sharma with a catch at cover.

Afghanistan's Naveen celebrated by putting two fingers in his ears, symbolically covering out the noise. This back-and-forth jibing between the crowd and Naveen became the highlight of the first innings.

In an interview after the Eliminator, which MI won, Naveen expressed how he has enjoyed the atmosphere, saying that all the chants have only fuelled his passion to further do well for LSG. The 23-year-old pacer further emphasised the need for professional athletes to handle such situations and not let external noise affect their game.

"I enjoy it (chanting). I like that everybody in the ground is chanting his name, or any other player's name. It gives me passion to play well for my team,” Naveen said in the post-match press conference.

"I don't concentrate on the outside noise. I just focus on my own cricket. It's not like if the crowd is chanting or anyone is saying something... it doesn't affect me. As professional sportsmen you have to take it in your stride. One day you will not do your best for the team and these fans are going to give it to you. On another day, you'll do a special thing for your team and the same people are going to chant your name," Naveen added.

With their 81-run loss to MI on Wednesday, LSG were eliminated from IPL 2023, while MI have one more game to win to reach the final. MI will now take on Gujarat Titans (GT) in Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on Friday to book a meeting Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final on May 28.

Despite the theatrics, Naveen performed well throughout the season, picking up with a total of 11 wickets, including four in the Eliminator against MI. His crucial wickets included Suryakumar Yadav and Cameron Green, who had built a dominant partnership. Naveen used his variations effectively, including well-executed cutters and changes of pace.

"You assess the conditions. You see the conditions, what they offer. I think the pitch was offering a bit of help. It wasn't like we were bowling 3-4 slower ones in an over but just to keep the batters guessing, you have to vary your pace and vary your line and length. It comes with T20, it's a fast format and you have to adjust quickly and be a step ahead of the batter.

"To be honest, it [his season] was good. We could've done better as a team. Individual performances don't count. At the end of the day, our team goal was to win the trophy. My individual performance comes second. It was a good season for me, I learnt quite a few things from this IPL and hopefully [I'll] come back stronger," added Naveen.

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