The Royal Challengers’ hopes of making the playoff hang by a thread after their latest defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad which meant the side has now lost seven out of their 10 games.
Nevertheless, the South African ace has heaped praise on Kohli while speaking about their ever-growing friendship during a commercial event on Tuesday.
“He’s (Kohli) a great guy and I love playing with him. He’s become a great captain and an even better friend. So it’s been great. He’s always been an inspirational character and we have a few leaders in the team that carry the guys in the tough times. We just want to look ahead and try to get better,” De Villiers said.
The South African was dismissed for five runs in the loss to Hyderabad after being bowled by Rashid Khan. While praising the Afghanistan leg-spinner, the swashbuckling batsman maintained that he was happy with his personal form.
“I am batting very well. I am very, very happy. Rashid got me out previously. We haven’t played a lot against each other but he bowled well and he’s a very good bowler. I have a lot of respect for him,” he explained.
The Bengaluru franchise is currently in seventh spot in the league table and will require something close to a miracle to make the last four even if they win their remaining four matches.
Though he is focused on the next match against Delhi Daredevils, De Villiers conceded that the side’s performances had not been up to scratch so far.
“No we haven’t played well. It’s been very disappointing but there are four games left and I would love to not live in the past much. The focus is on what’s coming and that is Delhi, so we need to win that game and hopefully get a bit of a run going.”
The Indian under-19 World Cup-winning star had scored an unbeaten 57 off just 36 balls to lead the Knight Riders to a six-wicket win over MS Dhoni’s men.
Writing in his column for the Times of India on Wednesday, Kallis lauded Gill and stated that the 18-year-old has a very bright future.
Kallis’ men were 40-2 in their chase of 178 against Chennai when the youngster walked in to bat and flipped the game on its head.
“We also lost a couple of early wickets but, once again, we stayed calm and played clinical cricket. It gave an opportunity to Shubman Gill to bat higher up the order and he took it in some style. We were very clear in our management of his first experience in the IPL – we wanted to ease him in gradually rather than throw him into the deep end with great expectations,” the South African legend, widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest-ever all-rounders, said.
“So by the time he walked out to bat at No.4 against Chennai in a match we really needed to win, he was not a rookie and knew exactly what to do. There is no shot or option he does not have as a batsman but his decision-making and ability to think clearly under pressure is equally impressive. He has a very bright future with a mature head on his shoulders,” he added.
Gill was named the player of the World Cup tournament held in New Zealand earlier this year, off the back of a match-winning century against Pakistan in the semi-finals, and has since been earmarked for big things by many greats like Rahul Dravid.
Such high praise from someone of Kallis’s stature will do him the world of good after a not so prolific maiden IPL stint. So far, Gill has scored 127 runs in seven innings for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The fast bowler took to Instagram late on Tuesday to confirm the news of his departure from India.
“The decision has been made for me to return home to England to prepare for the English summer,” Wood wrote in his post.
“Having worked so hard to get back into the Test team, and because I’m not currently in the CSK side, I am coming home to play for Durham to hopefully put my name in the hat for Test match selection.
“To the CSK management, players, and supporters, thanks so much for the support and welcoming me into this family club. It was a very proud moment for me to be presented my cap by MS Dhoni.
“Although things didn’t quite go to plan this year, I hope to be able to wear it again. I’ll be watching you from home and cheering you on.”
The 28-year-old was bought by the franchise for his base price in the IPL auction. However, things didn’t go according to plan for Wood in what was his maiden IPL experience.
The England quick was given his debut in the tournament opener between the Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. He had an expensive spell where he conceded 49 runs without picking up any wickets.
That would be the last IPL action for Wood, who has not been picked again in the playing XI since then. The arrival of his England compatriot David Willey and then Lungi Ngidi meant that chances were going to be few and far in between. Hence, a decision to return to county cricket might be a move beneficial to all parties.