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Monday,17-January-2022

International

Physical demand on leading players massive these days: AB de Villiers

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AB de Villiers.

Even as the world is engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic, a burning question in every cricket fanatic’s mind is whether AB de Villiers will indeed come out of retirement and represent the country in the World T20 that is slated to be played in Australia later in the year. While there have been quite a few opinions on the matter, the former South Africa skipper is keen to follow the ‘wait and watch’ policy rather than making a statement.

Speaking to IANS, de Villiers said that he is taking things slowly, he will assess the situation only after playing the Indian Premier League and check what is possible and what isn’t.

“Let’s wait and see what happens. My focus is on the Indian Premier League at the moment, and helping Royal Challengers Bangalore realise our full potential. Then we will sit down and have a look at the rest of the year and see what is possible,” he explained.

The fate of the 13th edition of the IPL though hangs in balance due to the coronavirus outbreak. And while the BCCI and the IPL franchises are keeping no stones unturned to ensure that the tournament is played, it will all depend on the calls taken by the Indian government and the health department.

de Villiers surprised the cricketing world by announcing his retirement in May 2018 and while he did say back then that he wanted to leave while still playing decent cricket, a point he also strictly maintained was how he was tired thanks to the hectic cricketing calendar. And that is something that even the likes of Virat Kohli have raised in recent times.

While the South African feels that workload management is a personal call, he does believe that the mental and physical demand on the top stars is massive thanks to the non-stop cricket action.

“Each player must consider his own circumstances and make his own decision. I reached a point where I wanted to see more of my wife and two young sons, and seek a reasonable balance between family and cricket. The mental and physical demands on the leading players are massive these days, but each player must decide what he can and can’t do,” he pointed.

While de Villiers did quit international cricket, he has continued to play in T20 leagues across the globe and the kind of fitness he has shown at 36 can put even youngsters to shame. But for the former national-team captain, it is all about discipline.

“Discipline is the key. Eating right and regular exercise are extremely important. It becomes a habit. Eat healthy, have a healthy lifestyle, and it’s not difficult at all,” he signed off.

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If given an opportunity, it will be an honour: Bumrah on captaincy

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 India pacer Jasprit Bumrah said if he will be given the captaincy responsibility, it will be an ‘honour’. At the same time, he added that he is willing to contribute to the team irrespective of whether he holds a leadership role or not.

With Virat Kohli not at helm and Rohit Sharma unavailable due to a left hamstring injury, Bumrah will be the vice-captain to KL Rahul for the ODIs against South Africa starting from Wednesday here.

“I am ready to contribute in whatever position and way I can to the team. If given an opportunity, of course you would think about it. I like to do my work, however I can contribute, having a post or not, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever contribution you can give, I try to do that and that’s always been my process and that is what I look to do,” said Bumrah in the virtual press conference on Monday.

“If given an opportunity, it’s an honour and there is no bigger feeling than that. But I try to focus on the things I can contribute even if I am not given a position of leader because that’s the job of a team-mate of how you can help each other in any situation, that’s very important,” added Bumrah.

Talking about his role in the current leadership scenario, Bumrah felt it won’t be any different. “The role doesn’t change at all because I have to do my job first, isn’t it? Trying to contribute as much as I can to the team in whatever fields I can and helping KL as much as he wants, if he needs any assistance on the field. Sharing the bowler’s mindset or what kinds of fields can you keep, that is something I have always looked to do even if I am not the vice-captain.”

“I try to talk to certain younger guys as well who have come in now and have a lot of discussions with them around fields, what kinds of deliveries and assessing the wicket. That’s the same role I have to do again and I am trying to do that as well. There is no specific responsibility or added pressure that I want to take. Helping the team and KL in any way possible and try to keep a calm head and do that.”

Bumrah revealed that Kohli had informed the team in a meeting after the Cape Town Test about his decision of leaving the captaincy. “We have been very close as a team unit. He told us in a meeting that he will be stepping down from the Test captaincy. He informed us of this as a team and we respect his decision and value his leadership a lot. We congratulated him as a team for his contribution to the Test team as a leader and wished him all the best. This was the conversation we had with him.”

Bumrah further said the former skipper will always be a leader in the group. On Saturday, Kohli announced that he will step down from the Test captaincy with immediate effect. The upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa will be his first white-ball series as a player.

“See, I am not here to give a judgement about his decision. But yes, it’s a personal decision and we respect his decision. He knows how his body is reacting and what frame of mind he is in. We respect that and it’s been an immense pleasure to play under his leadership as I made my Test debut. As I have spoken before, he brings a lot of energy to the side. He will always be a leader in the group and his contribution has been immense and will be immense going further as well.”

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Kohli told us after Cape Town Test that he will be stepping down from captaincy: Bumrah

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Jasprit-Bumrah-and-Virat-Kohli

Jasprit Bumrah, India’s vice-captain in the ODI series against South Africa, on Monday revealed that Virat Kohli had informed the team in a meeting after the Cape Town Test about his decision of leaving the captaincy.

“We have been very close as a team unit. He told us in a meeting that he will be stepping down from the Test captaincy. He informed us of this as a team and we respect his decision and value his leadership a lot.

“We congratulated him as a team for his contribution to the Test team as a leader and wished him all the best. This was the conversation we had with him,” said Bumrah in the virtual press conference.

Bumrah further said that former skipper Kohli will always be a leader in the group.

His comments come after Kohli announced on Saturday that he will step down from the Test captaincy with immediate effect. The upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa, starting from Wednesday in Paarl, will be his first white-ball series as a player.

“See, I am not here to give a judgement about his decision. But yes, it’s a personal decision and we respect his decision. He knows how his body is reacting and what frame of mind he is in. We respect that and it’s been an immense pleasure to play under his leadership as I made my Test debut. As I have spoken before, he brings a lot of energy to the side. He will always be a leader in the group and his contribution has been immense and will be immense going further as well,” added Bumrah.

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Ireland clinch historic ODI series win against West Indies 2-1

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Half centuries from Andy McBrine and Harry Tector helped Ireland defeat West Indies in a nail-biting third and final One-day International by two wickets to clinch the series 2-1 at the Sabina Park here on Monday (IST).

Set a modest target of 213 to win in 50 overs, the tourists survived a dramatic late batting collapse after McBrine (59) and Tector (52) had patiently scored their half-tons, to secure a famous series win.

Ireland lost four late wickets after being 190/4 and seemingly cruising to their required target. But the visitors held their nerve to complete one of the highest-profile series wins in the history of Irish cricket and collect 10 further ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points to go to the third spot in the standings.

Earlier the West Indies had suffered a collapse of their own, losing six wickets for just 29 runs to leave their first innings in tatters after Shai Hope’s early half-century, with McBrine taking 4/28.

And while all-rounder Jason Holder inspired the tail to wag to lift the West Indies to 212 all out from 44.4 overs, it wasn’t a high enough target to deny Ireland, with McBrine and Tector hitting half-centuries in what proved to be a nervy second innings.

Ireland’s five-wicket win in the second ODI on January 13 had set up a winner-takes-all series finale. And it was the West Indies who got off to a flier in the deciding ODI at Sabina Park, as Shai Hope brought up the fastest half-century of his ODI career, reaching the landmark off just 37 balls.

But Hope’s departure in the 11th over sparked a collapse as the home side lost three wickets for four runs to heap the pressure on the middle order, with Craig Young and McBrine doing the damage with the ball.

And when McBrine struck for the third time to have captain Kieron Pollard caught in the slips for 19, it looked like the West Indies were in danger of posting an uncompetitive total.

A rear-guard effort, inspired by Holder (44), Akeal Hosein (23) and Odean Smith (20 not out) helped West Indies past 200. But Young returned to the attack to pick up his third wicket of the game to bring the innings to a close, finishing with figures of 3/43.

A famous series win was within reach for Ireland, but their run-chase got off to the worst possible start when William Porterfield fell to the very first ball of the innings, caught on the boundary off Alzarri Joseph.

McBrine and Paul Stirling steadied the ship, with the latter taking the attack to the West Indies and ensuring that Ireland would always be ahead of the required rate with his 44 off 38 balls, featuring five fours and a six.

McBrine and Tector added a further 79 runs for the third wicket, with McBrine continuing his outstanding contribution with a 59 off 100 balls before falling to Odean Smith to leave Ireland 152/3.

The Irish seemed to be cruising to a comfortable win, but the wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, and when Tector was trapped LBW to Roston Chase for 52 — his third half-century of the series — West Indies saw a ray of hope that they may be able to pull off a turnaround.

A huge heave saw Gareth Delany caught for a breezy 10 from five, and a catch in the slips by Holder accounted for George Dockrell to leave Ireland eight-down with five runs still required to win.

But Ireland’s tailenders Mark Adair and Craig Young held their nerve to get the team across the line, with Young’s delicate cut for four sealing the two-wicket win.

Brief scores: West Indies 212 in 44.4 overs (Shai Hope 53, Jason Holder 44; Craig Young 3/43, Andy McBrine 4/28) lost to Ireland 214/8 in 44.5 overs (Paul Stirling 44, Andy McBrine 59, Harry Tector 52; Akeal Hosein 3/59, Roston Chase 3/44) by two wickets.

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