Srinagar: He may have been just a another pacer coming into the IPL 2023, but he is leaving as one of the top trending cricketer on the planet as he departs. Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq has taken IPL by storm both with his infield and outfield antics making him hot topic of the league.
As soon as Lucknow Super Giants were knocked out of IPL 2023 on Wednesday, Naveen-ul-Haq, Sweet mangoes and Gautam Gambhir started trending on Twitter. Fans of Virat Kohli started to mock the Afghanistan pacer and former India opener Gambhir.
That has been the story since the May 1 spat of Naveen and Gambhir with Virat Kohli. Whenever Naveen has went, ‘Kohli Kohli’ chahta from fans have followed him.
Naveen’s indirect digs on Kohli and RCB have only fuelled the fire and it has come down to a situation where the seamer has restricted comments on his Instagram account and has blocked plenty of twitter users.
Recently, after GT knocked RCB out of IPL 2023, Naveen posted another cryptic Instagram story where a famous African TV reporter can be seen saying, “God have mercy upon us” before starting to laugh loudly.
Both the timing of the post and the content points it towards RCB’s exit because during a conversation between AB de Villiers and Kohli earlier this year, the two spoke about this funny video at length.
Between the altercation and the cryptic post, Naveen repeatedly squeezed in some mangoes and became “The Mango Man”, title given to him by his teammate Nicholas Pooran, of social media.
Mango was probably never mentioned this much and it took the Mumbai Indians’ player minutes after the win to take an indirect dig at Naveen for his celebrations, and of course the mangoes.
Seamer Sandeep Warrier posted a picture with Kumar Kartikeya and Vishnu Vinod on a table with three mangoes in the middle and wrote “Sweet season of mangoes”.
The post, which went viral in no time, was later deleted from their social media handles.
A lot of attention, trolling and booing has come his way but Naveen is enjoying it. At the post-match presser on Wednesday, the LSG seamer said the chants give him passion to play well.
“I enjoy it. I like everyone in the ground chanting his (Virat Kohli) name or any other player’s name. It gives me passion to play well for my team,” said Naveen.
“Well I don’t concentrate on the outside or the noise from outside or anything else. I just focus on my own cricket and my own process. Crowd chanting or anyone saying something doesn’t affect me. As professional sportsmen you have to take this in your stride. One do when you don’t good for your team, fans are going to give it to you. And when you do good for your team, same people are going to chant your name. Basically this is part and parcel of the game,” said Naveen.
Addressing a question on his relationship with Gambhir and how it has helped him grow as a player during the IPL, Naveen said “everyone should take back of their own players”.
“Everyone should back their own players. Mentor, coach, player or anyone. I will stand for each teammate on the ground and that’s what I expect from each individual also. 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 learnt so many things from him. How I should go about my cricket inside the field and same thing outside,” said Naveen.
Naveen on Wednesday took four wickets for LSG against Mumbai Indians. The multiple time champions Mumbai easily beat LSG in the match.