Credit: BCCI/IPL

Credit: BCCI/IPL

Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq kicked off his IPL career on a rocking note and put up a good show by taking 13 wickets in the eight games he played. However, more than his on-field performance, it was his off-field behaviour that hit headlines every other game. Recently, the youngster reacted to the ‘Kohli, Kohli’ chants he was targeted with during the Mumbai Indians victory against LSG in Eliminator.

The 23-year-old pacer  made a debut in the Indian Premier League in 2023 after he was signed by Lucknow Super Giants for INR 50 lakh.  During LSG's second clash against RCB in the IPL 2023, the young pacer was involved in a verbal spat with Indian veteran Virat Kohli, since then Naveen was targeted by the fans whenever he stepped in to play. 

Naveen has, time and again, provoked the fans, either by putting up a ‘mangoes’ story, or trolling the RCB franchise when the team crashed out of the IPL 2023. Needless to say, these incidents didn’t go well with the franchise fans, and ‘Kohli, Kohli’ chants became a common thing during LSG matches. The same happened during the MI vs LSG Eliminator, and Naveen finally reacted to it. During the post-match conference, he was asked about the crowd reception, and he gave a shocking reply saying that it gives him the passion to play. He said, "I enjoy it (chanting). I like that everybody on the ground is chanting his name or any other player's name. It gives me passion to play well for my team.” 

He went on to say, "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."

Speaking of the game, Mumbai Indians recorded their win in the IPL as they took down LSG by 81 runs to advance to the Qualifier 2 of the season. They will clash against the reigning champions Gujarat Titans on May 26, Friday. The team that emerges victorious will lock horns with Chennai Super Kings to lift the shining trophy in the Grand Finale on May 28, Sunday.