Lucknow Pacer Naveen ul Haq responded on Kohli-Kohli Chants
The Lucknow pacer was constantly targeted by Bangalore and Virat Kohli fans on the field
Mumbai beat Lucknow in the Eliminator game of the Indian T20 League 2023 by 81 runs. After winning the toss on Chepauk’s pitch, Mumbai’s skipper Rohit Sharma decided to bat first. Riding on the crucial knocks of Cameron Green (41 off 23) and Suryakumar Yadav (33 on 20) and with the finishing touches of Nehal Wadhera (23 on 12), the five-time champions gave a fighting total of 183 at the elimination eve. Speedster Naveen ul Haq was the pick bowler from the first innings with the figures 4-38-4. However, the chasing from Lucknow was not something they expected. As a result, half of the team was resting in the pavilion at the midway stage. With the fierce spell of Mumbai’s young gun Akash Madhwal (3.3-5-5), Lucknow was bundled up at the score of 101.
During the game, there were many instances when the crowd taunted Lucknow pacer Naveen ul Haq with the chantings of ‘Kohli-Kohli.’ After all, he kept down the crowd's shouts by dismissing Rohit Sharma. The Afghan’s spear celebrated the wicket by putting two fingers in the ears, symbolizing to calm the taunts from the fans. This in-and-out mocking was the highlight of the first innings.
When asked about the fans’ chanting, the 23-year-old pacer said he enjoys this atmosphere. It boosts him to contribute his best towards his side with more strength and aggression. However, he added that professional-level players must be ready for these situations, which doesn’t impact their gameplay.
"I don't concentrate on the outside noise. I just focus on my 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 will give it to you. Then, on another day, you'll do a special thing for your team, and the same people will chant your name," stated the rising bowler.
"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 season and, hopefully, come back stronger," Naveen ul Haq added when asked about his performance and the team’s season.
After the heated exchange of words with Virat Kohli in the 43rd game of the league, the Lucknow-based pacer was constantly targeted by fans. Overall, this was a good IND T20 season for Naveen ul Haq. He picked 11 wickets in eight games with a bowling economy of 7.82. His best performance (4/38) came in the eliminator against Mumbai.
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