Cricket, often called the ‘gentleman’s game,’ occasionally witnesses fierce rivalries and on-field clashes. One such high-profile feud was the ongoing tiff between India’s star batter, Virat Kohli, and Afghanistan’s pacer, Naveen-ul-Haq. This rivalry had its roots in a heated encounter during the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) when Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) faced Naveen’s Lucknow Super Giants.
The contest between RCB and Lucknow Super Giants showcased spectacular cricket and a moment that would be discussed for months to come. As both teams gathered for the customary post-match handshakes, Kohli and Naveen exchanged heated words, sparking a debate on sportsmanship and behavior on the field.
The public eye remained fixed on this clash for four months after the controversial IPL incident. Social media buzzed with discussions and speculations about whether these two cricketing giants would let bygones be bygones and move past the anger that had overshadowed their exceptional skills.
The day had finally arrived when India faced Afghanistan in a World Cup match. As both teams battled it out on the field, something unexpected transpired during the 26th over of the second innings. Virat Kohli and Naveen-ul-Haq, who had been at odds, shared a moment of reconciliation. The two players embraced each other, signifying a peaceful end to a feud that generated significant media attention and piqued fans’ curiosity worldwide.
“He is a nice guy, a good player and we shook hands. It’s always in the ground, it was nothing outside the ground. People make it big. They need that stuff for their followers. He said we are done with that and I said yes we are done with it. We shook hands and hugged,” the Afghan pacer said after the match.
Virat Kohli, known for his aggressive on-field demeanor, had the last word on this matter. In an RCB video, he summarized his perspective: “A sweet win. If you can give it, you got to take it. Otherwise, don’t give it.” This statement hinted at the sporting spirit that often prevails in cricket, where rivals respect each other’s abilities.
On the other side, the Afghan pacer, Naveen-ul-Haq appeared unapologetic about the entire incident that had fueled the rivalry. After the controversial IPL game, Naveen had taken to his Instagram profile, sharing a cryptic message: “You get what you deserve. That’s how it should be and that’s how it goes.” This cryptic message added an intriguing layer to the already complex situation.
A month later, Naveen decided to provide his side of the story in an interview with BBC Pashto. He emphasized that Kohli’s conduct during and after the match had instigated the conflict. Naveen clarified, “He shouldn’t have said all those things during and after the match. I didn’t start the fight. After the match, when we were shaking hands, Virat Kohli started the fight.” He maintained that his response was natural when Kohli forcefully grabbed his hand.