Virat Kohli Is The Best Player I Have Ever Seen, Says AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers fondly recalled his partnership with Virat Kohli for RCB against Gujarat Lions in the IPL last year when he cracked a 44-ball century.

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De Villiers is looking forward to playing Test cricket again:

South African star AB de Villiers says time away from the game has made him realise that cricket remains the most important part of his life.

The gifted batsman, who recently quit ODI captaincy and announced his return to Tests after a self-imposed exile, said he could reflect on where his career and life is headed in the past 12 months.

“The last 12 months have been very important to me. Just really finding my feet again. In a way pressing the reset button. Looking back at what happened in the last 12-odd years and also assessing where I want to go and what I needed to achieve still,” said de Villiers at a MRF event on Tuesday.

“To feel happy in my life at the end of the day having stepped down from ODI captaincy. I feel very refreshed, revived and ready to go again. I have very quickly realised that it (cricket) is the most important thing in my life.

“I just want to enjoy the last few years of my career. Whether it is three to five to seven years that I don’t know. As long as it is needed to be a happy man walking off the cricket field,” he said.

He is already looking forward to the next year’s home series against India.

“It will be a great series as the two teams always play really good cricket. But quite a bit of cricket coming up before India series, we are playing Bangladesh. The series against India is going to be great.

“They have given a run for the money when we last played in South Africa. I remember Sachin’s (Tendulkar) last series in SA, we drew 1-1. Hopefully, I will be with the boys on the park to compete against India,” he said.

De Villiers said he will have to work hard to get back into the South African Test team. He played his last Test in January 2016.

“It is not that I can just walk into the team. I have to work hard for it. I am prepared to work really hard to be selected to play against India,” he said.

At the interaction, the South African also fondly recalled his partnership with Virat Kohli for RCB against Gujarat Lions in the IPL last year when he cracked a 44-ball century.

“It was special occasion. The ball was spinning quite a bit. (Ravindra) Jadeja beat me a couple of times. We both enjoyed being out there. We are completely different players. Virat, in his own way, is the best player I have ever seen. He says that quite a lot about me, which I don’t believe is true.

“It’s pure enjoyment and the respect for each other and for the game. When you play at the highest level, you need to be yourself at times to remember what sort of footsteps you follow. Being there on that day with Virat, I felt very special and being in India itself was special.”

To a question on the support he enjoys in India, de Villiers said, “It takes my breath away. I am blessed in that regard. I love the people here, love coming here and love the country. I truly enjoy being here every second. I love playing in front of the crowds here, nothing more electric than that.”

On people’s perception that South Africans were taking IPL more seriously than playing for the country, de Villiers said nothing comes close to representing the national team.

“I am not sure. It’s up to the individual; they can play wherever they want to make themselves better cricketers. For me, my country South Africa always comes first. IPL has been an incredible lesson to me and my family.

“I have enjoyed every second of my stay in the country and hopefully many more years to come. But cricket in South Africa will always take priority for me and I think it’s for any South African born.

“Once those corners are cut off and you realise you can’t represent the country anymore and the chances are less, I have no problem with someone going to play cricket (England, India or Australia) anywhere. Whatever makes him happy.”

© Khaleej Times

Virat Kohli To Meet CoA Over Pay Structure

Virat Kohli to meet the CoA before the IPL final in Hyderabad on May 21.

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NEW DELHI: Indian captain Virat Kohli is likely to take up the issue of hikes and payment structure of players when he meets the Committee of Administrators (CoA) before the IPL final in Hyderabad on May 21. It is learnt that senior cricketers, who had earlier told CoA that the current payment structure was unscientific and needed to be rectified, would discuss the payment structure. The cricketers would also take up the issue of non-payment of fees and other compensation which has been pending for months.

Sources have indicated that the mood is that players would not be willing for settle for less than what they are negotiating for. With their Australian counterparts making something to the tune of Rs 7 to 10 crore and even bargaining for more, the Indian players are keen that they too get something at par with the Aussies. Sources said that the Grade A players, who are paid around Rs 2 crore retainership fees, could be looking at more than Rs 7 crore especially for those who are playing in all the three formats for the country.

Indian cricketers get Rs 15 lakh per Test, Rs 6 lakh per ODI and Rs 3 lakh for T20I and a player of Kohli’s stature makes more than Rs 5 crore.

The main issue that could emerge is that players, who are not in Tests but only playing limited-overs cricket, should be paid under one basket and those who are only in Tests and not playing the shorter formats would get another set of retainership fees. Sources said that those who are playing in both the formats would be eligible for payment under both the retainership fees. If the players get a hike, they are also entitled to get separate match fees.

It was also understood that current management of the board is on the same page with the players, but they may not agree to such a big hike without understanding the whole dynamics of the payment to other domestic and junior levels. Even the board isn’t aware of any particular figure which the cricketers are looking at. Sources said that the CoA may be willing to keep the Grade A system for Test and shorter formats separate and ensure that a cricketer like Cheteshwar Pujara is duly compensated because of not playing IPL and shorter formats for India.

Furthermore, there is also a thought process that the Test retainership should be higher than the shorter formats. It would be interesting to see if the cricketers agree to it. “At the end of his career, Pujara shouldn’t feel that he hasn’t earned enough after playing Test cricket when an IPL contract could see an up coming domestic cricketer making more than him. There has to be a balance,” the board functionary said.

 Kumble too will meet CoA

Sources said that Indian coach Anil Kumble, who gave an exhaustive report on how the cricketers should be paid, is also going to meet CoA on May 21. However, he is supposed to meet the board functionary separately as per the agenda. The CoA, who is responsible for renewing all big contracts, is expected to discuss his financial terms as his contract with BCCI ends after the Champions Trophy.

 The top functionaries are keen that Kumble would continue after the ICC event and he can’t be penalised for expressing his view on Indian participation in the Champions Trophy when BCCI was at loggerheads with ICC.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA

 

Virat Kohli Dismisses Trump Comparisons With A Dig At Australian Media

Virat Kohli was compared with US President Donald Trump by sections of the Australian media.

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Bollywood and cricket stars came out in support of Virat Kohli after he was compared to Donald Trump.

Virat Kohli’s constant friction with the Australians have taken immense proportions with sections of the Australian press taking up their team’s cause and running almost a campaign against the India skipper as a backdrop to the closely-contested Test series. One of the issues that have really snowballed is Kohli being compared with US President Donald Trump by the Daily Telegraph. This has spurred widespread responses, right from Bollywood to cricketers from both sides.

Kohli himself was contemptuously dismissive of the whole thing, and took a dig at the Australian journalist in question when asked about the issue at Dharamsala, ahead of the crucial 4th Test. He said that so many people were being affected by one individual.

“I have faced this initially in my career and have faced this many times in my career,” Kohli said during the pre-match press briefing, talking about the scrutiny by the foreign media.

“I have always stuck by the right thing, have done the right thing. Always said what I wanted to because I feel it’s right. I have no regrets about it, have nothing to go back and change and the only thing is that so many people are being affected by this one individual. They are selling their news, good luck to them.

“It is something that is happening on the outside and I try and look in the inside, what are the things I improve upon as a cricketer and as a person and what my team mates think about me and what my close ones think about me. These don’t bother me, it never mattered to me,” Kohli said.

The Daily Telegraph had called Kohli ‘the Donald Trump of world sport’, a statement which generated responses from an array of people, ranging from Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan to cricket star Yuvraj Singh.

“Virat Kohli has become the Donald Trump of world sport. Just like President Trump, Kohli decided to blame the media as a means of trying to hide the egg smeared right across his face,” the article in the Daily Telegraph had said.

The acrimony between the Australian team and Kohli had become massive in Bengaluru when the India skipper stopped just short of calling rival skipper Steve Smith a cheat in the now-famous ‘brain fade’ issue.

© NDTV SPORTS