'No one can come and walk over my players': Gambhir defends his actions during IPL 2023 spat between Virat Kohli, Naveen
Gautam Gambhir spoke about his heated argument with Virat Kohli following Royal Challengers Bangalore's match against Lucknow Super Giants in IPL 2023.
In the 2023 Indian Premier League, controversy erupted during the clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Lucknow Supergiants (LSG), when. Virat Kohli, the former RCB captain, found himself embroiled in on-field dispute with Naveen-ul-Haq. Animated exchanges occurred between Kohli and LSG players Naveen and Amit Mishra, and the tension spilled over beyond the match's conclusion.
As players from both teams lined up for customary handshakes, Kohli continued his verbal exchanges with the Afghanistan star. Notably, the pacer was seen brushing off Kohli after an assertive handshake. Further drama unfolded as LSG opener Kyle Mayers engaged in conversation with Kohli, only for former India opener Gautam Gambhir – who was the mentor of LSG at the time – to intervene and lead Mayers away. This action seemed to provoke Kohli, who walked away after exchanging a stern look with Gambhir.
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The situation escalated as Gambhir hurled verbal volleys at Kohli, charging toward him multiple times, while teammates, including Super Giants captain KL Rahul, attempted to mediate. The fiery exchange reached its zenith when Gambhir and Kohli came face-to-face, exchanging heated words. Kohli appeared to explain the matter, but the confrontation lingered.
Since then, Kohli warmed up to Naveen when the duo met again during India's 2023 World Cup clash against Afghanistan, but it seems Gambhir is still furious over the entire episode. In a podcast with ANI, Gambhir stated that he was “defending" Naveen and had every right to do so.
“As a mentor, no one can come and walk over my players. I have got a very different belief. Till the time game was on, I had no right to interfere. Once the game was over, if someone still gets into a heated argument with my players, I've got all right to defend them,” Gambhir stated.
Interestingly, this was not the first time when Gambhir and Kohli were at loggerheads. During his playing days, Gambhir had clashed with the RCB star during the 2013 edition of the IPL. Earlier this week, Gambhir stirred controversy again when he engaged in a bitter on-field spat with former India pacer Sreesanth, allegedly calling him a “fixer" during a Legends League Cricket match.
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