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Didn’t demand to be included in South Africa World Cup squad: de Villiers

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AB de Villiers

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers has denied that he made any demand to be included in the national squad for the ICC World Cup in England and Wales.

de Villiers, who retired from international cricket in May 2018, said that he had been asked at the time if he would be available if South Africa needed him for the World Cup. He had said that he would be and had repeated the same during a private conversation with Proteas captain Faf du Plessis during the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League.

“Faf and I have been friends since we were at school together and two days before the World Cup squad was announced, I contacted him for a chat,” de Villiers said in a statement the screenshots of which were posted on his social media handles.

“I had been in decent form during the Indian Premier League and casually repeated what I had said when asked a year earlier, that I was available if required… but only if required. I made absolutely no demand at all. I certainly did not try to force my way into the World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament, and did not expect to be included. There was no burning issue from my side, and no sense of injustice,” he said.

The controversy arose after it was revealed that de Villiers had allegedly demanded to be included in the South Africa squad just after their defeat to India in the World Cup. The Proteas had a dismal tournament in England and Wales as they crashed out of the group stage with just three victories in nine outings.

de Villiers came in for criticism after the story broke and while the 35-year-old clarified that he had not demanded anything from du Plessis or the South African team management, he held no grudge against anyone for leaking the story.

“Out of the blue, on the evening after the Proteas lost to India, suffering a third successive World Cup defeat, elements of our private conversation were disclosed to the media, and distorted to cast me in the worst possible light. The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf. Maybe someone wanted to deflect criticism. I don’t know,” he revealed.

“As a result, I was unfairly described as arrogant, selfish and indecisive, but with all humility, my conscience is clear. I retired for honest reasons and, when asked if I could be available for the World Cup, I agreed to keep the door open. In the event, understandably, the team moved on. No problem. I am not angry with anybody,” de Villiers said.

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Ranji Trophy: Manoj Tiwary shines with maiden triple ton

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Manoj Tiwary

New Delhi, Jan 20 : Manoj Tiwary’s scintillating knock of 303 guided Bengal to post 635/7 against Hyderabad before reducing the visitors to 83/5 in a Round 6 Ranji Trophy tie at the Bengal Cricket Academy Ground here on Monday.

Apart from Tiwary, Shreevats Goswami chipped in with 95 runs before the hosts rode Akash Deep’s 3/46 to put Hyderabad on the back foot.

Meanwhile, after wrapping up Delhi for 163 runs, Vidarbha were 35 for no loss at the end of the day.

On the other side, ace India spinner Ravichnadran Ashwin picked up three wickets as Tamil Nadu came up with a commanding performance to beat Railways by an innings and 64 runs.

Resuming at 236/4, Tamil Nadu suffered an early jolt but managed to finish with a massive 154-run first innings lead. The Railway batsmen were shot out in 36.4 overs as R Sai Kishore (5/16) and Ashwin (3/36) dismantled their batting.

Jlaj Saxena picked up three wickets on the second day as Kerala’s bowlers put up an impressive show to bundle out Rajasthan for 268 in 32 overs on the second day. However Shubham Sharma picked up six wickets for Rajasthan as they too wrapped up their opposition for 82 runs, to win by an innings and 96 runs.

Upendra Yadav slammed an unbeaten 203 as UP declared at 625/8 against Mumbai. Mumbai were then reduced to 2/20 with Shashank Attarde (9) and Jay Bista (3) dismissed by Ankit Rajpoot.

Resuming at 295/8, Sheldon Jackson with Jaydev Unadkat took Saurashtra to 344. Jackson added 43 runs from his end before being the last man to be dismissed.

Madhya Pradesh batters then struggled and lost wickets at regular intervals before Yash Dubey (50 not out) and Venkatesh Iyer (50 not out) repaired the damage to help their side reach 183/5 at the close of play.

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Bengaluru ODI: Smith ton takes Australia to 286/9 vs India

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India Vs Australia
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Bengaluru, Steve Smith slammed a magnificent century as Australia put up 286/9 in 50 overs against India in the third and series-deciding final one day international here on Sunday.

Former captain Smith brought up his ninth 100 in 117 balls, third against India and got out on 131 from 132 deliveries as he tried to change gears and was caught at deep midwicket by Shyreyas Iyer off Mohammed Shami who was India’s best bowler.

Smith had hit 14 fours and a six in his innings. Despite restricting Australia to a score below 300 on what is generally a batsman-friendly track in Bengaluru, India had given away as many as 27 extras.

Shami (4/63) came back for his second spell in the end and picked up four wickets to shave off Australia’s tail and rein in on their scoring to not allow them to get to 300. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was brilliant too although he went wicketless, giving away just 38 runs in 10 overs.

Besides Smith, fast-rising Marnus Labuschagne notched up his maiden ODI fifty as he scored 54 from 64 balls (5×4).

Smith and Labuschagne shared a 127-run stand for the third wicket which formed the visitors’ bedrock after electing to bat first.

India were dealt a blow early on as senior opener Shikhar Dhawan had to go for an x-ray with a call on whether he will take any further part to be taken once he is assessed.

Dhawan was taken off the field after he hurt his left shoulder in the series-deciding tie after he dived to save an Aaron Finch shot in the cover region before hurting his left shoulder in the fifth over.

India made early inroads as Mohammed Shami found David Warner’s outside edge to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul who was played ahead of fit-again Rishabh Pant. Warner was gone for just three with his captain Finch (19) following suit soon, albeit in frustrating manner as he was run out due to indecision on Smith’s part while taking a single in the 9th over.

A livid Finch stormed out of the ground with the visitors in a spot of bother at 46/2. But as has been the case so often of late in Test cricket, Smith and Labuschagne joined hands to bring the team on track.

Similar in their playing style, the pair used square of the wicket a lot to score runs and punished the bad ball although Labuschagne was lucky not to get run out after Kuldeep Yadav failed to collect a Yuzvendra Chahal throw from the deep.

Smith got to 53 in 63 balls as he looked as consistent as ever with Labuschagne also notching up his maiden half century in 50-over cricket as he got to 53 in 60 deliveries.

It took a breathtaking catch from Indian captain Virat Kohli to break the stand as Labuschagne looked to accelerate in the 32nd over. The 25-year old played an inside out drive off Ravindra Jadeja which Kohli plucked inches off the grass diving low to his right.

Mitchell Starc was sent to bat at No.5 in a bid to up the ante and score briskly, but the experiment failed as Jadeja had him caught at deep mid-wicket fence by substitute Chahal to complete a two-wicket maiden 32nd over.

Alex Carey (35) and Smith associated for a quickfire 58-run partnership before Kuldeep got a timely breakthrough as Carey holed out to Shreyas Iyer at deep cover.

Bumrah followed it up with a near-perfect 43rd over, just conceding one run off the final delivery as Ashton Turner huffed and puffed at the crease.

Smith brought up his hundred by running a Navdeep Saini delivery down to third man but his celebration said it all as the Aussies fell behind in their run-scoring with Turner struggling to eventually get out caught behind in the same over.

Shami then removed Smith, Pat Cummins (0) and Adam Zampa (1) with toe-crushing yorkers as India ended on a high. Ashton Agar was not out on 11.

Australia made one change to the side, bringing in Josh Hazlewood for Kane Richardson while India named the same team.

Brief scores: Australia 286/9 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 131, Marnus Labuschagne 54; Mohammed Shami 4/63) vs India.

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Tata Steel Chess: Anand draws with Jorden van Foreest

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

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Viswanathan Anand

Wijk Aan Zee (The Netherlands), Jan 18 : Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand was on Saturday held to a draw by Dutch Jorden Van Foreest in the sixth round of Tata Steel Masters.

Veteran Anand faced the Four Knights opening in the sixth round as black and unleashed an attack in the centre early by sacrificing two pawns.

Anand tried to make inroads as White’s king was stuck around the centre for a long time and
it was a cautious move by both players especially after white lost back one pawn.

The draw was agreed upon once Anand picked the second pawn.

Anand remained in joint sixth spot after three points from six games.

Anand needs a powerful finish to be in with a chance of finishing on the podium with seven rounds still remaining.

Meanwhile, World champion Magnus Carlsen’s got a sixth draw on the trot as his search for an elusive win continued.

It was the 18th straight draw between him and Fabiano Caruana of the United States in the Classical time control.

Elsewhere, Anish Giri bounced back from his previous round loss to defeat Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus while Daniil Dubov thrashed his Russian compatriot Vladislav Artemiev.

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