The Problem with AB de Villiers

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 1 May, 2020, 11:22 AM IST

One of the more startling news to come out after the AB de Villiers-South Africa’s ICC Cricket World Cup fiasco in 2019 was the media mention of AB de Villiers not only expressing South Africa’s interest in having him back in the fold but also, asking him to lead the team. While de Villiers has since denied the reports, here is why de Villiers is always going to be a storm chaser.

In the wake of the shambles that was the premier tournament last June and the fallout of the cricket board with the media amongst others, the overhaul – albeit on a temporary set up under an acting CEO- made no bones about the fact that they would like to bring back to the fold as much talent as they could manage. If it was exploiting de Villiers’ sudden change of heart to play an important tournament for South Africa, CSA in its new avatar was on board, with some caveat as was expected.

De Villiers’ revelation last year right as the South African dream was crumbling in the midst of the World Cup was not only considered poor timing but also, in poor taste. For one, it put Faf du Plessis, the then South African captain, right in the middle of the muddle. While Cricket South Africa expressed their reluctance to acquiesce to de Villiers at the eleventh hour in a situation that would not be fair to the set-up of selection and players, they had also expressed their ‘shock’ that Faf du Plessis would even entertain the idea given that de Villiers, of his own volition, announced his retirement a year before in the middle of the Indian Premier League no less.

The idea that he thought he could walk back into the team was considered both, preposterous and presumptuous.

It is in light of that fiasco that when a sports media outlet released a statement purportedly on behalf of de Villiers saying that Cricket South Africa not only wanted him but wanted him to lead, there was skepticism that this was not just the media making a long stretch of a short story, but also, that there might be some truth to de Villiers’ expression of intent.

One of the most versatile batsmen in the world, it could be said that de Villiers became his own undoing, expressing the ambition for captaincy, nearly throwing it all away when he was overlooked for Hashim Amla, then being handed the captaincy but finding the cup too strong for his taste. Given the many see-saw fluctuations in what should have been the leading batsman in the world, while de Villiers is entitled to feel aggrieved over the statements attributed to him, the quick clarification was also essential given that the new set up that includes former teammates, Graeme Smith, and Mark Boucher, as director of cricket and head coach respectively, have explicitly stated that de Villiers needs to work his way back before he becomes a part of the next World Cup contingent later in the year.

With de Villiers already wavering if the ICC Twenty20 World Cup is pushed back a year, South Africa are wary of putting all their eggs in one basket and rightfully so.

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Danielle Wyatt reacts to Arjun Tendulkar's senior debut for Mumbai

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 5:20 PM IST

Arjun Tendulkar, the son of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, finally made his senior debut as he donned the Mumbai jersey during an Elite Group E fixture of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020/21.

After missing the first two games, Arjun played his first game during Mumbai's third game of the tournament. However, the pacer didn't have the best of outings as he finished his spell at 3-0-34-1.

Arjun had conceded 15 runs in his first over before returning to take the wicket of Haryana opener, Chaitanya Bishnoi. However, Mumbai ended up losing the game by 8 wickets, and thus, crashed out of the tournament with two games still to play.

The 21-year-old is expected to be retained in the line-up for the remaining games. After the all-rounder bagged his first wicket, he became one of the top trends on social media. England women's team batter Danielle Wyatt also reacted to the southpaw's debut.

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Wyatt, who is known to be a close friend of Arjun, lauded and congratulated the youngster for bagging a wicket on his debut. "Congratulations Arjun! Great start," the World Cup winner wrote on Twitter.

During an interaction with Cricket.com, Wyatt, who has after faced Arjun in the nets, said the youngster is getting quicker.

“Since then whenever I bump into Sachin or Arjun or whenever they come to Lord’s to train, I go to the nets and ask him (Arjun) to bowl with the new ball to me. But he is getting very quick now. He always says I will bounce you and knock your head off so I don’t like him bowling to me anymore. He is getting too dangerous to face,” Wyatt had said in June 2020.

Having finally made his senior debut, Arjun could be in action in IPL 2021 as he is now eligible to register for the auction. As per the norms, unless a franchise recommends someone, a player has to play at least one domestic game to enter the IPL auction.

He laughed about it: Shane Warne clears air with Marnus Labuschagne

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 4:45 PM IST

Legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne cleared up the comments he made about Marnus Labuschagne that earned him a fair bit of flak from the Australian fans. However, Warne on Saturday cleared up the comments he made about Labuschagne.

Warne was blasted by the Australian cricket fraternity after Labuschagne scored a ton on Day 1 of the fourth Test against India at Gabba. During the third Test, Warne, alongside former teammate and all-rounder Andrew Symonds, was reportedly heard using an 'expletive' while commentating on Marnus' batting.

"Jeez it's annoying. 'No!!!' Just f---ing bat properly," he had said according to World Wide of Sports.

Warne said he's a huge fan of Labuschagne's batting and added that the had already cleared the air with 26-year-old. The 51-year-old instead revealed that Marnus was 'ok' with it and the pair had a laugh regarding the same.

“I just want to clear something up,” Warne said on Fox Cricket.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Marnus. I’ve read a few reports saying ‘cop that Shane!’ about what you said about [him]. What I said about Marnus Labuschagne was ‘bat properly’. And what that means is none of that silly stuff of ‘wait on!’ and all of that carry on," he added

“Just bat, because you’re such a good player and yesterday I thought he didn’t do any of that stuff and he made a brilliant hundred.

It is something I won't regret: Rohit Sharma on first innings dismissal

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:54 PM IST

Indian team vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been facing a lot of criticism for playing an aerial shot off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, which led to his dismissal on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Test in Brisbane.

However, Rohit, who played a knock of 44, said he does not regret playing the aerial shot, despite gifting his wicket to Lyon, who is making his 100th Test appearance for Australia. Instead, Rohit said that he didn't connect his shot properly.

"I reached where I wanted to reach, just that I did not connect with where I wanted to hit the ball. I was trying to pierce that long-on and deep square-leg fielder, I just did not connect with the way I would have loved to," Rohit said during a virtual press conference

"I actually liked what I did today, before coming here, we knew it would be a good pitch to bat, of course, there would be bounce and carry to the keeper, but this is what I enjoy," the 33-year-old added.

"Once I was in and I had played a few overs, I realised there was not much swing so I did little adjustment there, after that, it was an unfortunate dismissal, it is something I won't regret. I like to put pressure on the bowler once I am in," he further stated.

"That is my role in this team to keep putting pressure on the bowlers. The run-scoring has been slightly difficult for both the teams so someone needs to put their hand up and think about how to put pressure on the bowlers," he concluded.

India will resume day 3 at 62/2 after rain forced early stumps on day 2 at the Gabba. The visitors are trailing the hosts by 307 runs. The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the Sydney Test ended in a stalemate.

I was not allowed to carry anti-racism banners inside SCG: Indian Fan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 3:03 PM IST

Amidst all the chaos regarding Indian players facing racism at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) during the third Test in Sydney, An Indian-Australian fan from Sydney has made shocking revelations regarding the same.

Indian pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were allegedly abused by a section of the crowd at the SCG on Day 3 of the third Test before Team India had lodged a formal complaint with the officials.

Now, a fan has revealed that he was left feeling 'stripped and naked' after encountering racism at the venue. An Indian fan from Sydney -- Krishna Kumar -- has revealed he was stopped from entering the stadium with anti-racism banners on Day 5 of the Sydney Test.

Kumar said he was stopped by the security guards at the SCG and one of them even asked him 'to go back to where he belongs' for carrying the banners. He also revealed the Indian players on the ground were being continuously addressed as 'curry munchers'.

"Rivalry is good, racism is not", "No racism mate", "Brown inclusion matters" and "Cricket Australia - more diversity please" - were the four banners he was stopped from taking inside the stadium.

"He (security guard) told me, 'If you need to address this matter, go back to where you belong,' " Kumar was quoted as saying the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was a very small banner. I made it out of my kids' paper roll. I want justice. I want accountability. I was feeling stripped, feeling watched and I went there to fight racism," he added.

"Why should I be stopped from addressing racism, especially at a ground where it was debatable whether it was happening or not? " he further stated.

"There were chants of 'curry munchers'. I was called a 'curry muncher'. The Indian team were called 'curry munchers'. That was going on loud and repeatedly," he concluded.

Kumar on Thursday filed an official complaint in the matter after meeting the NSW legal personnel. Meanwhile, ICC and Cricket Australia are also running a separate investigation on the same.

At least you’ll play one game: Nathan Lyon recalls his father’s funny reaction on his Test debut

Vedant Yadav Updated: 16 January, 2021, 2:26 PM IST

Nathan Lyon on Friday became the 13th Australian player to play 100 Tests in the 'baggy green' as he lined-up on Day 1 of the ongoing fourth and final Test in Brisbane. He marked his debut with the wicket of Rohit Sharma.

It has been some journey for Nathan Lyon, having made his Test debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka at Galle. As called by his teammates, 'Garry' has enjoyed a decade of success and will now unarguably qualify as one of the greatest bowlers to have ever graced the game.

Lyon is already the third-highest wicket-taker for the Aussies with 397 wickets to his name. And, considering the fact that he started his journey as a pitch curator at the Adelaide Oval, Lyon's story is nothing short of a fairytale.

In the same light, Lyon has now recalled the humorous interaction that he had with his father before putting on the Australian Baggy Green Cap for the first time. Lyon revealed that his father was happy that he would at least play a single Test match for Australia.

“I called Mum and Dad, I think Dad was out the back of Temora (NSW town) somewhere working. I said, ‘Dad, you won’t believe this,’ and he said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I’m making my debut.’ He goes, ‘That’s all right, at least you’ll play one game,’ and he hung up,” said Lyon in a chat with Mark Howard on Fox Cricket.

Lyon said that his father got too emotional and hung up early to avoid a conversation. He also recalled that both his mother as well as his grandmother were crying and also added that his brother was totally speechless.

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“I’ve since found out that he was probably too emotional to talk. Then I called my brother, and he was speechless. Mum started crying… I called my grandmother and she started crying,” the off-spinner added.

Lyon would savour every moment he is spending at The Gabba as the match will determine the outcome of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is currently tied at 1-1- after India salvaged a draw in Sydney.