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AB de Villiers – ‘Public see Virat Kohli’s decision as being selfish, it is exactly the opposite’

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de Villiers feels playing without pressures of captaincy will free up Kohli going forward

Virat Kohli‘s stint as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, spanning 11 seasons came to an end on Monday with his team bowing out of IPL 2021 in the eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders. Earlier, he also announced he will step down as India’s T20I captain after the conclusion of the upcoming World Cup. In a chat on the franchise’s official YouTube channel, Kohli explained the reasons behind his decision. As someone who had a lot of criticism come his way after he retired from international cricket, AB de Villiers defended his Royal Challengers team-mate, explaining why retiring earlier than expected is not a “selfish” decision.

de Villiers on Kohli’s legacy as Royal Challengers’ captain:

I think Virat’s had an unbelievable run as captain. It’s been a privilege to play under him. I’ve been a fan of him leading over the last few years because of all the pressure he has taken on board over the years with the Indian team plus the IPL. I feel this could be an environment where he could come out and have a bit of fun and sort of step away from Indian cricket for a while, have a bit of fun in the T20s at the IPL with a lot of international friends around and then go back into the high-pressure environment of captaining India in the formats. That’s been the chat for the last couple of years. It’s got nothing to do with his ability as captain. We all know that he’s been unbelievable for us. Always lead from the front for RCB. Always made the best possible decisions for the team. He’s had a fantastic run. I’m sad to see him go as captain. But hopefully we’ll have a few more years together in the team and win some trophies for the boys.

Kohli on whether the pandemic had an impact on the decision:

I had spoken to AB [about it] in 2019. It’s not new, with the IPL I was always in a space where I wanted to create some kind of peaceful environment for me through the calendar year. We had these discussions and I thought ‘okay fine, we’ll give it one more year’. We had a restructuring of the management and things were much better in 2020. So I felt a little more relaxed at that stage. But the pandemic obviously has its own challenges, not having the ability to go home for a couple of days and come back. It weighs on you as an individual but that has not been a deciding factor for me. My point of view was clear regardless of whether Covid was there or not there I had to at some stage manage my workload. It wouldn’t have been possible to keep going on through the year captaining everything – three formats and the IPL. As a batsman you have to make sure you’re contributing in the best way possible for your team as well. So I didn’t want to compromise on the enjoyment of the game also.

de Villiers defends Kohli’s decision:

I’ve been in the same boat before and I can relate to what he [Kohli] is feeling and what he’s been through. So there’s a mis-perception in my opinion when it comes to the public when they see people stepping down out of certain roles to let a bit of that workload go. Where they see it as being selfish, it is exactly the opposite. It is not being selfish. Because of him doing that [stepping down from captaincy] he can be a better version of himself. There can be a captain coming in with that same kind of energy that he’s had for the last 7-8 years. I was in the same position, took quite a lot of criticism for letting some things go, where I felt I was actually doing the right thing for the team and not being selfish in the same process. Sometimes it can be a bit misleading and people see it as ‘oh, he is now thinking about himself, he is protecting himself’. It is exactly the opposite actually.

Kohli: There’s one thing saying that when you’re offered captaincy you don’t want to take it because you want to look after your game. There’s another thing saying that you’ve actually done it, proven yourself for 7-8 years and now it makes complete sense [to step down]. As I said, I didn’t want to be operating at 80% and be miserable in a team environment where I can’t contribute my whole energy to the group very organically and honestly, and that’s who I’ve always been. I didn’t want to have a structure around me where I felt like I’m not able to be myself on the field because my job is firstly as a player to make sure I’m in the best frame of mind possible to be able to contribute to the team. Like AB said, it’s not a selfish thing to do. Because what you actually want to do is to provide your best self out there for the team and potentially have another guy who has fresh energy, fresh set of ideas to carry that culture forward and you’ll still continue to be the leader within the group like motivating the youngsters, doing the right thing for the team. What is perceived on the outside and what the reality is two different things. Beyond a point you don’t even want to think about what people are making out of your decisions because they have no idea what you’re experiencing.

de Villiers: There is such a thing as going on for too long. That, in my opinion, is selfish. People that want to hold on to power for longer than they know in their hearts they know they shouldn’t. There is such a thing and people must remember that as Virat got the decision right, yes or no, that’s up to you to decide. In his heart, it feels 100% pure and he can be the best version of himself moving forward. In my opinion that’s the right decision.



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Lance Klusener not to continue as Afghanistan head coach

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Klusener’s current contract expires on December 31

Lance Klusener has decided not to continue as the head coach of Afghanistan. The former South Africa allrounder, who was appointed in the role in September 2019, will not extend his contract, which expires on December 31, 2021.

“Having spent two years with the team, I will take away some memorable moments with me,” he said in a press statement on Monday. “As I walk away from Afghanistan cricket team and its cricketing structure, I look forward to the next stage in my coaching career and opportunities it brings.”

While they hardly played any cricket in 2020 due to Covid-19, Afghanistan performed fairly well under Klusener, winning one out of the three Tests, three out of the six ODIs and nine out of 14 T20Is. During his first series as the coach, Afghanistan beat West Indies 2-1 in the T20I series in India. They also beat Ireland 3-0 in the ODIs and 2-1 in the T20I series earlier this year. In the recently-concluded T20 World Cup, they crashed out of the group stage after winning just two out of the five matches. He had resorted to online coaching when Covid-19 had struck last year.

Klusener had taken over from Andy Moles, who was serving as the team’s interim head coach after the exit of Phil Simmons following the 2019 World Cup. Klusener’s contract was then extended at the end of 2020.

Klusener played 49 Tests and 171 ODIs for South Africa from 1996 to 2004. Considered one of the best South African allrounders of his time, he scored 1906 runs and took 80 wickets in Tests, as well as 3576 runs and 192 wickets in ODIs. He has served in various coaching roles following his retirement, working with international and domestic teams as well as IPL franchises.



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IND vs NZ 2021 1st Test

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Captain says going for a win went “off the cards” during the second session of the final day that saw his side eke out a draw

Since the start of 2013, India have won 19 tosses in Tests at home. Apart from the two weather-affected draws, they have won 16 matches, and only one by fewer than 100 runs. This Kanpur draw in the 19th is arguably the best performance by a side against arguably the biggest challenge in Test cricket today: to face India in India and lose the toss. It is hard enough to face India in India, but once they get the first use of the pitch, it is a nightmare, which shows in these numbers.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson could look back with some satisfaction at the effort, especially after coming here with a “disjointed” preparation. “There was a lot of heart and effort going into that end result. Having said that there were so many contributions throughout the game that kept us right in it for long periods, certainly after losing the toss. There was a really strong partnership, Wriddhiman Saha getting that fifty and putting them back on the front foot and allowed them to declare and try to fight for that winning result.

“For us, having that experience, going out, batsmen spending time in the middle and bowlers getting overs under their belt after a fairly disjointed preparation was really valuable. For us it is really important that we make adjustments quickly again. We go to a new venue, and it will be different.”

It was Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson who kept New Zealand in the game with 14 wickets between them on a surface that India’s spinners did all the damage. That once again raised the old question if it was necessary to play two spinners in India and not your best bowlers even if that means playing a third seamer. Williamson defended his spinners Ajaz Patel and William Somerville there.

“I mean you are always trying to adjust to conditions,” Williamson said. “The spinners that we have have been outstanding for us in a number of games and these sort of conditions. I think they will be much better for the hit out there. They have both come out of Auckland where they have been locked in their houses for a few weeks. So it has been a bit of a rush to get some overs under their belt.

“Having said that, they did make valuable contributions with the bat and the ball. The way the two seamers as well operated was simply outstanding and really gave us a fighting chance in this match.

“Tim and Kyle’s efforts kept us in the game and gave us a fighting chance to change the momentum. There was not a lot of pace to play with. Tim was able to change his angles and was certainly immaculate with his lengths and created opportunities for us, which is really special. Certainly at his best, and it was really great to see.

“Remarkable start to Test cricket for Kyle, the fastest in our country to 50 wickets by some way. It is a really special effort and to do it in a number of different conditions. Tom Latham and Will Young as well. The contributions they made with the bat. Their sort of defiant attitude to committing with their plan and sticking to it was great to see.”

2:06

WATCH - Latham brings up second consecutive fifty

WATCH – Latham brings up second consecutive fifty

New Zealand started the day needing 280 more runs with nine wickets in hand. They were given hope by the nightwatchman Somerville, who hung around with opener Latham for the entirety of the session. However, Williamson said India’s bowling was good enough to never let them entertain thoughts of a win.

“Coming into the day we were aware that all three results were possible,” Williamson said. “Having said that there was a lot of hard work to do to give yourself a chance to chase versus trying to chase too early and finding yourselves in a sticky position. It was a matter of trying to take the day deep. And if we were close we would have had a crack if we were in the right position. But we weren’t in the end.

“India were able to put us under pressure throughout the sessions. Scoring was tough to come by, and there was a lot of navigating low bounce and balls that spun and those sort of things. If things unfold ideally, then it would have been great to try and get close to the desired result. Having said that, I think going through that second session, it was quickly off the cards. Then we saw a lot of contributions from the guys where they really knuckled down and fought hard to get a draw in the end. That was the next best thing for us.”

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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IPL 2022 – MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah retained by IPL franchises

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Narine, Russell, Williamson and Maxwell are also among the big names who won’t be going into the auction

MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Glenn Maxwell are among some of the big names that the existing franchises have decided to retain for IPL 2022.

Following is a list of names that ESPNcricinfo has confirmed as of Monday evening. The order they appear in is not as per IPL retention list.

Chennai Super Kings: Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson
Punjab Kings: Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Axar Patel, Anrich Nortje
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson

Several franchises are still finalising their retention list with the IPL deadline closing at 12pm IST on Tuesday. Recently the IPL, which will be a 10-team league from the 2022 season, had enhanced the auction purse to INR 90 crore while setting various retentions slabs. The existing franchises can retain a maximum of four players while the two new unnamed franchise – to be based in Lucknow and Ahmedabad – can buy upto three players each from the player pool after the original eight teams have made their retentions.

In case a franchise retains four players, INR 42 crore would be deducted from the total purse. For three retentions the purse would shrink by INR 33 crore, while for two retentions it would reduce by INR 24 crore and in case of one retention INR 14 crore would be deducted from the purse.

If an existing franchise retained four players, as per the retention slabs set by the IPL, INR 16 crore would be deducted from the purse for the first player, INR 12 crore for the second, INR 8 crore for the third and INR 6 crore for the fourth. In case of three retentions the numbers would be: INR 15 crore for the first player, INR 11 crore for the second and INR 7 crore for the third. If two players are retained, then the slabs are INR 14 crore and INR 10 crore.

More to follow

Additional reporting by Shashank Kishore

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo



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