South African star AB de Villiers to carry on playing in the IPL

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Set to keep on playing: AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers has confirmed he will continue playing in the IPL for a ‘few years’ following his retirement from international cricket.

The 34-year-old will no longer don the South Africa colours after calling it quits in May after the Test series against Australia.

Two months on from that announcement, de Villiers revealed he has no plans to turn his back on T20 cricket and wishes to play on for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“I will keep on playing IPL for a few years, and I would like to play for the Titans, and help some of the youngsters. But there are no set plans. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by iol.co.za.

“Bangalore is a special place, a second home, really. I played my 100th Test there, and obviously RCB is a massive part of my life. India as a country has taken me in, and it’s hard to explain what that feels like. I just play cricket.”

Happy memories: De Villiers was a key player for South Africa

Happy memories: De Villiers was a key player for South Africa

With the World Cup less than a year away, de Villiers had a chance to end his career with glory having experienced disappointment in three editions. But with a CV that sees him as the fourth-highest scorer for South Africa, 22 Test centuries and holding the record in ODI cricket for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls), he said his career shouldn’t be measured on World Cup glory alone.

“For a long time, the World Cup was a massive goal. But, in the last few years, I have realised that it isn’t realistic to measure yourself purely on what you achieve in that tournament. That will not be the be-all and end-all of my career,” de Villiers said.

“Yes, I would have loved to win it, but I have great memories from World Cups. The 2007 tournament — my first — was very special. We fell short against Australia, when we tried to play too much cricket too soon, but that shift in mentality probably helped us to go over there and win the Test series we then won over there.

“Personally, I scored my first ODI century in that 2007 tournament, and I loved the whole experience of being in the Caribbean.

“The same goes for the others, in 2011 and in 2015. India has always been close to my heart, because of the passion for cricket, and then obviously 2015 was an amazing game. We fell on the wrong side of it, but we gave it everything,” he explained.

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MS Dhoni says batting down the order in the IPL was like quicksand

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MS Dhoni helped lead CSK to an IPL title.

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni has revealed that he was determined to bat higher up the order in IPL 2018, as batting lower, in his age, is similar to stepping into quicksand.

The 36-year old was key to CSK’s title-winning campaign this year, scoring 455 runs in 16 games.

“I was sure in my mind that I wanted to bat up the order, because with age, me batting down the order was like quicksand,” Dhoni said at an event in Mumbai.

“I wanted to make sure that I wanted to take the responsibility of winning the game, but I was coming so [far] down the order that I was not giving time to myself.

“So, it was more like quicksand: the more I flutter, the deeper I would go. So, I said that I want to make a team where we bat deep, that gives me a chance to bat up the order, and to me up the order doesn’t mean I want to bat at three, four or five; it’s the number of overs [left in the innings].”

Dhoni also emphasised on why he wanted to bat higher and how CSK batting deep helped him to be aggressive in the middle.

“I said that I want to bat up, so when I go into bat, I would like to bat aggressive, so that even if I get out, it gives others a chance to reinvent themselves about finishing the game, what they need to do, if they are under pressure and all of that,” he said.

“Fortunately, we did not use our batting order to the full extent in the whole of IPL because [Shane] Watson, [Ambati] Rayudu, [Suresh] Raina, me, [Dwayne] Bravo – we all kept scoring runs and that really helped us.”

“But my planning, right from the start, was to make a team which bats deep, where everybody should be able to bat, and that gives me an opportunity to go out there and express myself, ” he added.

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Virender Sehwag gave us the freedom to play in the IPL, says Kings XI Punjab star KL Rahul

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High praise: KL Rahul

Kings XI Punjab’s batsman KL Rahul hailed the impact of Virender Sehwag, saying the team’s mentor allowed players the freedom to express themselves during the IPL.

The 2014 runners-up began the 2018 season winning five of their first six matches but faltered in the latter stages to finish second bottom in the league stage.

But Rahul, who finished as the competition’s third highest scorer with 659 runs, said former Indian batsman Sehwag played a key role for all the players.

“I did go up to Sehwag and spoke to him at different times. He kept his game very simple and that’s his advice to all the players to go out, trust your gut feeling and enjoy the game with a smile on our face,” he was quoted as saying in the Indian press.

“That’s the kind of freedom he has given to everybody, not just me, be it batsmen or bowlers.”

“And this is the brand of cricket we want to play as a team, not always keeping in mind the result. We want to be fearless and aggressive. In a tournament like the IPL, sometimes it will work and at other times it won’t. But we have to keep going,” the right-hand batsman added.

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