Bengaluru: Captain Virat Kohli said he remains as motivated and committed as ever to lead Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title.
RCB have been the perennial under-achievers of the competition, failing to go all the way despite reaching the final thrice. It all went wrong for them last season when they finished last.
“More than the fans I want to win the Cup. I have been with Bangalore for last 10 years and we haven’t crossed the final hurdle three times. I can assure you, my commitment is going to be 120 percent to try and achieve the goal this time,” said Kohli after a training session here today.
RCB have been short on batting firepower and Kohli feels this time the team has a good bowling line-up too.
“The batting has been a strong point for RCB over the years, but I think the strengthening of bowling department has been a massive boost for us from this auction. I am very optimistic about our chances heading into this IPL,” said the skipper.
The franchise has a solid spin department comprising Yuvzendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, M Ashwin, Pawan Negi and England allrounder Moeen Ali. There are plenty of pace options too in the presence of Umesh Yadav, England allrounder Chris Woakes, Delhi’s Navdeep Saini, Mohammad Siraj and New Zealander Tim Southee.
On new players bought in the auction, Kohli said they are very excited to be part of RCB and he had the joy of playing with some of them.
“Some of them I know personally. We picked up players who could contribute to our culture and not be so worried about their personal performances,” he said.
On Gary Kirsten as part of the coaching staff, Kohli said the South African could massively help the players.
“This was discussed before the auctions. I thought it could be a great opportunity for young players to spend time with Gary, since I too benefitted massively from him early in my career (when he was India coach). I certainly became a better cricketer,” he said.
The star batsman said he had a great working relationship with Kirsten.
“I had a great working relationship with Gary. In terms of the batting group operating, I think he is the ideal man to supervise things. Gary is good at it because he has the ability to keep the batting group together at the international level, just how he did it with the Indian cricket team.
“Having so many big names in the team and how he got everyone together and the team spirit going, I think that was an outstanding factor as far as I saw it,” Kohli said.
After taking a three-week break, Kohli has been training non-stop for last 12 days and feels he is getting close to his peak.
“I am definitely at 100 percent now, 110 is what I prefer and that 10 will take a little more time,” he said.
Kohli said the break was refreshing after a gruelling South Africa tour.
“Three weeks without even looking at my kit bag or bats was a weird feeling. At the back of your mind, you are never out of the game.
“Keeping a check on cricket played around the world kept me involved with the game,” he added.
South Africa will learn from defeat:du Plessis
PORT ELIZABETH: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has said that his side will learn from their defeat to Pakistan in the first One-day International at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas were given a timely reminder of how much work lies ahead before the Cricket World Cup in May as they lost by five wickets.
Hashim Amla’s 27th ODI century and debutant Rassie van der Dussen’s 93 was not enough for the Proteas, who lost only two wickets in scoring 266 runs after winning the toss.
The experienced Mohammad Hafeez’s 71 and opener Imam-ul-Haq’s 86 steered the tourists to their first win of their away series after they were well-beaten in all three Test matches.
Du Plessis felt that his team were short of where they should have been.
“The two guys [Amla and van der Dussen] batted really well, but perhaps there were 10 or 15 runs that we could have pushed a little harder for,” he said after the opening fixture of the five-match series. “Pakistan bowled better than us over fifty overs here. And then they batted really well [too], you have to give credit where it’s due. Some great learnings for us, and we know where we can get better,” said the South African captain.
“An in-form Hashim Amla is great for us. Rassie played beautifully, he had intent right through his innings. We need to adapt. You’re not going to always get conditions for the fast bowlers,” du Plessis added.
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed also credited his batsmen for their first win of the tour. “The batting was very responsible,” a relieved Sarfraz said. “In the middle overs, Shadab [Khan] was great, as well as Imad [Wasim]. And the way our fast bowlers bowled was very good. And then the way Imam and Hafeez controlled the match in the run chase was simply outstanding.”
Man-of-the-match Hafeez remarked the South Africa total was below par. “It’s a team effort,” the veteran right-hander said. “It was not a par score on this track, so we were confident chasing it. To be very honest, we were very sure as a team we should chase this one. The start given by Fakhar [Zaman] and Imam was brilliant, Babar [Azam] gave us momentum.”
With this win, Pakistan maintained their unbeaten record at St George’s Park. They have now won three out of the four matches they have played at the venue, with one match ending without result.The second game, also a day/nighter, takes place at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.
Cricket a special part of my life but not the priority: Kohli
Mumbai :Indian skipper Virat Kohli has established himself as one of the world’s greatest batsmen in the modern-day cricket. Known for his committment and hardwork on the field, Kohli has been breaking records constantly and it seems that there is no turning back for the 30-year-old.
Having enjoyed a record-breaking 2018 year, Kohli continued his good form in this year as well as he not only achieved several individual records but also guided India to historic twin victories in Australia.
Kohli, the world’s no.1 Test and ODI batsman, guided India through a historic tour of Australia, during which the side clinched the Test and ODI series by 2-1 and settled with a 1-1 draw in the T20I series.
However, the swashbuckling batsman stated on his official app that though cricket is an important part of his life, his family still remains his biggest priority.
“Eight years down the line the priority would be my family, priority would be myself, Anushka and our family only by then. So that would be the priority for us. And cricket would obviously a part of my life always but I feel that family should be a priority at all times because nothing is bigger than life. Cricket is a part of life and nothing should be bigger than life. I know people will take things a bit too seriously that if you don’t say cricket is your life then you are not committed enough, I don’t believe in all that. If I am committed to talking right now about something, I am committed to this,” Kohli said.
He further went on to say,”But the larger picture always has to be life because whatever happens you come back home and whatever may happen in your life, you always come back home. So I think, the priority will be family, should be family and cricket will always be a very special part of my life but it is not the most important thing in life, it is the way I see it. But I think eight years down the line I will be totally focused towards my family.”
During India’s tour to Australia, Kohli added many records to his tally.
By smashing his 39th One-Day International century during India’s six-wicket win over Australia in the second match at the Adelaide Oval, Kohli became the second cricketer with most hundreds overseas. With 22 tons to his name now, the Indian skipper surpassed Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara who both have 21 centuries in their tally.
En route to his blistering knock, he also became the 11th highest run-scorer in the history of ODI cricket.With a total of 10,385 ODI runs in his tally, Kohli has went past Sri Lanka’s Tilakratne Dilashan (10,290 runs).
He has now brought up a total of 64 international hundreds to become the third batsman with most international centuries, overtaking former Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara (63).
MU star set to join Ronaldo at JuventusSports
London: Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is set to move to Serie A giants Juventus on a six-month loan deal till the end of the 2018-19 season. The loan move will end Darmian’s misery at the Old Trafford as the full-back has struggled to leave a mark since moving in from Italian side Torino in 2015. The 29-year-old has just made 91 appearances in three and a half years for the Red Devils and have just played six matches this season.
According to GOAL, the loan move will cost Juventus 3 million Pounds, but the Old Lady will secure Darmian’s signing in the summer for free as his contract is set to expire after the end of this season. The signing of Darmian will allow Leonardo Spinazzola to move to Bologna from Juventus. Darmian featured for the Red Devils in their 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, but it seems like that will be the right-back’s final game in the red jersey.
Darmian has played for AC Milan and Palermo and has 36 appearances for Italy to his name. Juventus would be bolstering their defense with Darmian’s signing and will expect that the full-back gives tough competition to their present options at the club.
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that the Red Devils won’t be making any signings in the ongoing January transfer window and will go to the remaining matches with the present squad. For United’s full-back options, Solksjaer has the likes of Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young and will hope that the levels remain the same since his takeover from Jose Mourinho, who was sacked following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool in the December Premier League match.
Manchester United are currently sixth in the league table with 44 points to their name after the completion of 23rd game-week in the Premier League 2018-19.