Even though cricket is widely regarded as a gentlemen’s game, tempers can boil over on the field in the heat of the moment as competing teams and players look to seek an advantage over their opponent by any means necessary.
While all players do get involved in on-field banter, spats, and altercations against opponents from time to time, some players are seen in heated exchanges more often than others.
Over the years, cricket has had its fair share of bad boys and its tag of being a gentlemen’s game has diminished as a result over time.
In recent times, one such player who has made a name for himself for his aggressive demeanour and brash behaviour on the field against opponents is Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq.
He made the headlines for all the wrong reasons during Indian T20 League 2023 after being involved in an on-field confrontation with Indian stalwart and the new God of Cricket, Virat Kohli.
However, it wasn’t the first time that Naveen-ul-Haq was involved in on-field confrontations against other players and with that in mind, here’s a look at some of Naveen-ul-Haq’s fights on a cricket field.
Naveen-ul-Haq’s fights on a cricket field
Naveen-ul-Haq vs Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Amir, Lanka Premier League 2020
In the inaugural season of Lanka Premier League (LPL) in 2020, the Afghanistan pacer found himself in the middle of an altercation while representing Kandy Tuskers’ Naveen-ul-Haq was involved in a heated exchange of words against Galle Gladiators’ pacer Mohammad Amir. While it is unclear why the argument began, the two players were seen hurling abuses at each other while other players on the field tried to diffuse the situation. After the match during the post-match handshakes, tempers flared again but this time between Naveen and Shahid Afridi as both players were seen having a go at each other in an animated fashion.
After the match, Afridi took to social media and tweeted, “My advise to the young player was simple, play the game and don’t indulge in abusive talk. I have friends in the Afghanistan team and we have very cordial relations. Respect for teammates and opponents is the basic spirit of the game."
Naveen also responded to Afridi online by tweeting, “Always ready to take advice and give respect, Cricket is a gentleman’s game but if someone says you all are under our feet and will stay their (sic) then he is not only talking about me but also talking abt my ppl.”
Naveen-ul-Haq vs Thisara Perera, Lanka Premier League 2021
Naveen’s second clash on a cricketing field also came in the Lanka Premier League but this time it was against Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera. The two players clashed because Naveen could be seen coming in the way of Thisara Perera while the Sri Lankan attempted to complete a run. Needless to say, Thisara was not impressed by Naveen’s actions and decided to let his feelings be known to the Afghan bowler, which led to a verbal spat between the two. Eventually, it was the umpires who had to intervene and calm the situation down as neither Naveen nor Thisara were willing to back down.
Naveen-ul-Haq vs D’Arcy Short, Big Bash League 2022-23
Similar to the incident against Thisara Perera, Sydney Sixers’ Naveen-ul-Haq looked like he was trying to block Hobart Hurricanes’ D’Arcy Short in a 2022-23 Big Bash League game. Just as D’Arcy Short looked to complete a quick single, Naveen-ul-Haq seemed to move toward the Australian’s path and was subsequently barged to the ground as the batter looked to complete his run. While the Afghan wasn’t pleased about the incident, things flare up and were handled in a calm manner.
Naveen-ul-Haq vs Virat Kohli, Indian T20 League 2023
The Afghan pacer’s most recent on-field altercation is arguably his most high-profile one yet as it came against Virat Kohli in Indian T20 League 2023. During the break between the 16th and 17th over of Team Bangalore’s away match against Team Lucknow, Virat Kohli and Naveen were seen exchanging verbal bombs with one another. The argument began escalating quickly, prompting Indian veteran spinner Amit Mishra to intervene and mediate. However, Amit Mishra too lost his cool and ended up arguing with Virat Kohli as the incident continued to simmer.
After the game during the post-match handshakes, Naveen told Virat Kohli a few words during an awkward handshake, which rekindled the fight and tension between the two. Shortly after, Team Lucknow’s mentor Gautam Gambhir also entered the pitch and what followed was yet another heated exchange between the two Indian cricketers who were difficult to separate.
Photo credit: Alamy