Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) pacer Naveen-ul-Haq has become the target of chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ by fans in the IPL 2023 for the last 2-3 weeks. It started after a heated exchange with RCB veteran Virat Kohli during their match on May 1 in Lucknow. Fans took it upon themselves to taunt him every time he took the field, but the player managed to remain unaffected as well. However, during the Eliminator against Mumbai Indians (MI), the crowd continued their taunting when he took the ball.
However, he silenced everyone by dismissing MI opener Rohit Sharma with a catch at cover as well. He celebrated by putting two fingers in his ears, symbolically drowning out the noise as well. When he was asked about the chants, Naveen-ul-Haq expressed his enjoyment, saying that it fueled his passion to perform well for his side as well. He shared the need for professional athletes to handle such situations and not let external noise affect their game as well.
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“I enjoy it (chanting),” Naveen said in the post-match press conference. “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. 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-ul-Haq added.
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“You assess the conditions. You see the conditions, what they offer. I think the pitch was offering a bit of help,” Naveen said. “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,” Naveen-ul-Haq concluded.