LSG mentor Gautam Gambhir supported Naveen-ul-Haq after an on-field heated exchange with Virat Kohli during a league game of the IPL 2023. Gambhir and Kohli were also involved in a war of words in Lucknow. Naveen also posted a picture with Gambhir days after the ugly spat.
When asked about his equation with Gambhir, Naveen stated “Everyone should take back of their own players”. The Afghan pacer added that he has learned many things from Gambhir in this IPL. Mentor, coach, player or anyone. I will stand for each teammate on the ground and that’s what I expect from each individual also,” Naveen said in the post-match press conference after LSG lost to MI in the Eliminator.
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“He (Gambhir) has been a legend for India, he has huge respect in India. He has given so much to Indian cricket. As a mentor, as a coach, as a legend of cricket, I respect him a lot and have learned so many things from him. How I should go about my cricket inside the field and same thing outside.”
Naveen had a brilliant season despite all the drama. He took a total of 11 wickets, with four of them coming in the Eliminator match against MI. His important dismissals included Suryakumar Yadav and Cameron Green, who were in a dominant partnership. Naveen showed great skill in using different variations, such as well-executed cutters and changes of pace.
Although LSG’s batting lineup failed to reach Qualifier 2, Naveen’s impressive performance stood out. When reflecting on his season, he recognized his individual achievements but emphasized the team’s ultimate goal of winning the trophy.
“You assess the conditions. You see the conditions, what they offer. I think the pitch was offering a bit of help,” Naveen ul Haq 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.
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He further added, “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.”