In a surprising turn of events, Naveen-ul-Haq, the Afghan pacer known for his fiery exchanges with Virat Kohli during IPL 2023, extended an olive branch, hailing Kohli as a “nice guy” and praising his sportsmanship during the recent India-Afghanistan match in the 2023 World Cup. This unexpected display of camaraderie marks the end of their highly publicised rivalry, leaving cricket fans intrigued and applauding their newfound respect for each other.

The IPL Altercation: A Heated Beginning

The rivalry between Naveen-ul-Haq and Virat Kohli ignited during IPL 2023. A fiery exchange of words during a match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Lucknow Super Giants grabbed headlines, with the post-game handshakes brimming with tension. Naveen’s remarks in the midst of Kohli’s batting triggered further animosity, leading to dramatic encounters after the match. The cricketing world was buzzing about this volatile face-off.

The “Kohli Kohli” Chants: Fans’ Verdict

Naveen-ul-Haq endured the brunt of Indian fans’ fury, with relentless chants of “Kohli Kohli” echoing every time he took to the field. This even continued during the World Cup match in Delhi, Kohli’s hometown, where Naveen’s mere presence incited a fervent crowd. Cricket enthusiasts anticipated fireworks when these two rivals met again on the pitch.

The Unexpected Gesture: A Handshake That Melted Hearts

During the India-Afghanistan World Cup clash at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, cricket fans witnessed a heartwarming scene. After the dismissal of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Naveen-ul-Haq exchanged a friendly handshake, signifying the end of their rivalry. It was a moment that left spectators in awe.

Naveen’s Praise for Kohli: A Class Act

Post-match, Naveen-ul-Haq was quick to shower praise on Virat Kohli. He called him “a nice guy” and acknowledged his status as a top-notch cricketer. Naveen emphasized that their differences were confined to the cricketing field, with nothing spilling over into their personal lives. He also questioned the media’s eagerness to sensationalize their rivalry for the sake of attracting more followers.

The Echoes of 2019: ICC Spirit of the Year Award

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Kohli has shown sportsmanship. In the 2019 World Cup, he asked the crowd to support Steve Smith rather than jeer at him following the ball-tampering saga, a gesture that earned him the prestigious ICC Spirit of the Year Award. Naveen-ul-Haq’s commendation of Kohli’s recent actions only reinforces the Indian captain’s reputation as a true sportsman.

Naveen’s Retirement from ODIs and the Future of Bowling

Naveen-ul-Haq, at the young age of 24, has decided to retire from ODIs after the World Cup. He expressed his concerns about the balance between bat and ball in ODIs, hinting that more bowlers may opt out of this format in favour of T20 cricket. In a game dominated by power-hitting batsmen, bowlers are grappling with new challenges.

The unexpected gesture of sportsmanship between Naveen-ul-Haq and Virat Kohli during the 2023 World Cup has taken the cricketing world by surprise. Naveen’s praise for Kohli’s character and skills, coupled with his decision to retire from ODIs, adds depth to this intriguing chapter in cricketing history. As fans, we can only hope that this newfound camaraderie prevails, setting an example for sportsmanship in the world of cricket.

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