AB de Villiers has decided to skip the upcoming Big Bash League campaign with Brisbane Heat due to family and COVID-19 related issues.

Uncertainty around international travel restrictions as De Villiers and his wife prepare for the birth of their third child played a significant role in the former South Africa batsman pulling out.

The 36-year-old scored 146 runs in six appearances in the 2019-20 BBL – the first time he had participated in the competition – as the Heat failed to qualify for the finals for the third time in succession.

De Villiers, who is currently participating in the Indian Premier League, hopes to get another chance to play for Brisbane as he feels there is "unfinished business".

"We're expecting our latest child very soon and with a young, growing family and the uncertainty around travel conditions due to COVID-19, we reluctantly decided it wasn't going to be this season," De Villiers said.

"The Heat were great to us last season and I am very open to returning to the club in future. The team didn't get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with."

Heat head coach Darren Lehmann added: "We've been in regular contact with AB since last season and while things initially looked fine for him to come back, there have been a few factors emerge which have changed everyone's plans.

"The main one, aside from the challenges represented by COVID-19 and international travel, is that AB and his wife Danielle are expecting their third child very soon.

"Naturally we're very pleased for them and know that the next few months will be a very special time for all."

There was some positive news for the Heat on Tuesday, however, as they announced the return of spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the world number two T20I bowler, for the 2020-21 BBL.

The Big Bash League is due to start on December 3 with a clash between Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Renegades.

On the heels of news that Andre Russell has withdrawn from the 2020 Lankan Premier League it has emerged that the all-rounder did not request a No Objection Certificate from Cricket West Indies that would allow him to play in the Sri Lankan T20 league.

Chris Gayle said it was nice to be able to win the battle between himself and mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the Kings XI Punjab’s emphatic victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on Monday.

Man-of-the-Match Gayle, 41, scored a 29-ball 51 in a second-wicket stand of 100 from just 60 balls with Mandeep Singh, who top scored with an unbeaten 66 as KXIP ran out eight-wicket victors.

Gayle took 17 runs off Narine’s bowling ithat included two of his five sixes that were creamed over wide long off the Trinidadian in the 11th and 13th over, respectively. The Universe Boss just failed to remain unbeaten getting out from a slower ball from Lockie Ferguson in the 19th over with KXIP just three runs short of their target.

Narine, meanwhile, went wicketless while conceding 27 from his four overs.

Gayle said it was great to get one up against one of the best T20 bowlers in the world.

“Sunil has got me out so many times. He is the best spinner in the world. So when you get a wicket like this, when it is not turning much, you got to cash in,” Gayle said even as he praised the match-winning knock from Mandeep, who is mourning the loss of his father.

“Mandeep is going through a lot. Last game we said we want to win it for him. So beautiful to watch him in the middle pointing out to his father watching from above. And dad, my dad, I love you. Today, the coach asked the senior players, we need to step up in crucial games, I am glad we were able to put my hand up. And the youngsters in the team are telling me, 'Don't retire.'"

Gayle’s form has been on the upswing since he made his season debut for KXIP after missing out on playing during the first half of the season, partly due to a case of food poisoning that resulted in him being briefly hospitalized.

"Been training off the field when not playing. Doing my runs. Gym. Feeling good,” said Gayle, who is also optimistic about his team finishing the season well after their fifth win on the trot.

“Have a good feeling about myself and the team. Just capitalizing on it, but still a long way to go."

 

While he was disappointed that the Mumbai Indians suffered a shock loss to the Rajasthan Royals, Captain Kieron Pollard could not help but feel especially aggrieved for one of his teammates, Hardik Pandya.

Batting first, Mumbai were struggling at 101 for 4 after 13 overs after Pollard was bowled by Shreyas Gopal for 6. At 7.76 an over, Mumbai were looking at a score of between 155 and 170. However, Pandya smashed 60 that included two fours and seven sixes while facing just 21 balls to propel Mumbai to a competitive 195 for 5.

What they didn’t bank on was Ben Stokes smearing Mumbai’s bowlers all over the park, scoring an unbeaten 107 from 60 balls and Sanju Sampson’s 54 from 31 balls to see the Royals race to 196 for 2 with all of 10 balls to spare.

Pollard, filling in for a second game for Rohit Sharma, who is out with an injured hamstring paid tribute to Stokes but felt for Pandya, whose heroic efforts were in vain.

“I thought Hardik brought us straight back into the game, but well played to Stokes and well played to Samson,” said Pollard who now has one loss and a win as the stand-in captain.

He believed the conditions helped the Royals more than they did Mumbai.

“The wicket ended up being a good wicket with a little bit of dew. It played into their strengths. But having said that, well played to the opposition,” said Pollard, who was not particularly concerned that the loss would impact Mumbai’s ambitions of being among the top-two teams at the end of the regular season.

“It really doesn't do much to the campaign, we still have three games to do. We just have to come out with good cricket. Our bowlers tried but it wasn't meant to be today,” he said.

“[Hardik] keeps showing time and time again, doesn't matter the position of the team. Tough luck an innings like that he ends up on the losing side.”

Stand-in captain Kieron Pollard was thrilled with the way the Mumbai Indians performed under his leadership on Friday after they inflicted the heaviest defeat ever suffered by the Chennai Super Kings in IPL history.

MI restricted CSK to 114 for 9,  a total largely due to a defiant 52 from all-rounder  Sam Curran. Trent Boult took career-best figures of 4 for 18 and Jasprit Bumrah and Rahul Chahar each took two wickets to destroy CSK’s batting. Pollard bowled one over for four runs.

Requiring a run-rate of less than six runs an over, Player of the Match Ishan Khan smashed an unbeaten 37-ball 68 and Quinton de Kock, a 37-ball 46, in an unbroken stand of 116 to take MI to a historic 10-wicket victory.

It was the first time CSK had been beaten by 10 wickets since the IPL began in 2008.

Pollard, who assumed duties as captain after Rohit Sharma was sidelined by a hamstring injury, praised his team’s performance.

“We wanted to bowl them out under 100 but Sam batted well. I think it was a total team effort. Two-three wickets early put you in the game and to get 4-5 is fantastic. And then the openers going out and finishing off and not leaving any uncertainty was good,” Pollard said during his post-game interview.

He indicated that MI has a specific goal in mind as they aim for a fifth IPL title.

“We want to finish top two and it's a matter of getting the points and then think about the opponents,” he said indicating that the team wants to play even better.

“There's always room for improvement, myself making some mistakes on the field, guys not being aware in certain situations. Maybe it's not technical, but it's things you need to speak about.”

Asked if he enjoyed being captain, Pollard, who earlier this year led the Trinbago Knight Riders to their fourth CPL title said: “Sometimes you don't actually have to be a leader to be a leader, I know a thing or two. So it was just a matter of me stepping in and it came off tonight. It was just matter of making right decisions, not giving them freebies.”

Cricket commentator Ian Bishop believes Jason Holder’s CPL form over the past two seasons was largely responsible for his recall to the Indian Premier League this season.

In his brief senior career to date, Shimron Hetmyer has demonstrated that he is a talented batsman. However, on paper his figures have not been flattering.

Deandra Dottin and Shakera Selman, two of the West Indies Women’s most popular players, are among some of the game’s best women cricketers set to participate in the upcoming Women’s Indian Premier League (IPL) Challenge from November 4 to 9 in the United Arab Emirates.

Over in Australia, West Indies Women’s captain and star all-rounder, Stafanie Taylor, will also be featuring in franchise cricket as she lines up for Adelaide Strikers in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). Another outstanding West Indies player, Hayley Matthews, will also be competing in the tournament and is once again playing for the Hobart Hurricanes.

Dottin, one of the most exciting all-rounders in the women’s game, announced her return to international cricket with an impressive series batting performance against England Women last month, where she scored two half-centuries in the five-match series. For this event she will be part of Team Trailblazers alongside Indian stalwarts Jhulan Goswami and Smriti Madhana; as well as Sophie Ecclestone of England.

Dottin expressed her eagerness to participate.

“It’s an exciting time for me to be selected for the Women’s IPL Challenge. Having played at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and more recently the series against England Women, I am now back into the groove of T20 cricket. I am looking forward to teaming up with some of the superstars in women’s cricket. I have good memories of playing in Dubai and I’m hoping that my recent return to form will continue throughout this tournament,” the 29-year-old said.

Selman, one of the top performing West Indian fast bowlers of all-time, will be back for her second stint in the Women’s IPL Challenge and will be playing for defending champions Supernovas. The team is led by Harmanpreet Kaur, and also includes Indian batter Jemimah Rodrigues and Chamari Atapattu of Sri Lanka. The other team to participate in the tournament is Team Velocity, led by Mithali Raj..

“I’m looking forward to my second stint in the Women’s IPL Challenge. Last year we just missed out on being in the final but this time I’m with the defending champions, the Supernovas and I hope I can contribute to their defense of the trophy,” said Selman.

“To line up with the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues and Chamari Atapattu, I know we’re going to bring the heat to this tournament. I’m looking forward to competing against Deandra and I know she’s not going to hold back her destructive batting and bowling.”

Meanwhile, CWI’s Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams believes the chance to play in the league is a tremendous opportunity for the Caribbean women.

CWI is extremely proud to have four of our international women’s players featuring across both the WBBL in Australia and the Women’s IPL Challenge in Dubai. The four players have all been rewarded for their performances at the highest level and we wish them all the success possible with their franchise teams,” he said.

“This opportunity for some of our players to play at the franchise level is welcomed on the back of limited opportunities this year due to the prevailing pandemic. Their involvement will no doubt also serve to inspire our young women in the Caribbean both inside and outside the game of cricket.”

The opening fixtures for Strikers and Hurricanes in WBBL|06 on October 25, will be against each other. This is the sixth edition of the tournament and Taylor and Matthews have participated every year since inception, with Taylor winning the title with Sydney Thunder in 2015-2016.

 

West Indies captain Jason Holder came in for praise for his performance for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their emphatic eight-wicket victory over the Rajasthan Royals on Thursday in Dubai.

Romario Shepherd, the Guyanese allrounder, has been selected to replace Dwayne Bravo in the West Indies T20 team to tour New Zealand next month.

This comes as all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out of the upcoming tour due to a groin injury. The experienced 37-year-old sustained the injury on Saturday, October 17, while playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Bravo, the two-time T20 World Cup winner, will now return to Trinidad to continue his rehabilitation.

The 25-year-old Romario Shepherd made his international debut last year against Afghanistan and has so far played five One-Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals (T20Is). Shepherd said he intends to make the most of the opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity for me, and I want to take it with both hands. I was in the team before, last year and earlier this year, so I have a good feel of the game at this level. I’ve been training hard and working at all areas of my game so I’m ready,” he said.

Bravo, meanwhile, said he is disappointed that he will not be able to travel to New Zealand with the team.

“I was really looking forward to the tour of New Zealand as it has been so many months since I last wore maroon in Sri Lanka back in March and we are all so excited about building towards defending our T20 World Cup next year,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained on Saturday playing for CSK has not only ruled me out of the IPL but also the tour.  I’m making arrangements to return to Trinidad over the next few days where I will continue my rehab and treatment. I’m fully committed to representing the West Indies and I just need to get myself stronger again.”

The defending ICC T20 World Cup champions will visit New Zealand from November 27 to December 15.  They will start the tour with three T20Is, followed by two Test matches as part of the ICC World Test Championship.

 

FULL SQUAD:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King,

Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr and Kesrick Williams.

 

MATCH SCHEDULE

November 27: 1st T20I at Eden Park, Auckland

November 29: 2nd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

November 30: 3rd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

December 3-7: 1st Test at Seddon Park, Hamilton

December 11-15: 2nd Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington

 

 

 

Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2020 IPL season after being diagnosed with a Grade-1 tear to his right groin. According to reports, he will leave the United Arab Emirates on Thursday with CSK having four matches remaining.

Bravo suffered the injury during CSK's match against the Delhi Capitals on October 17.

Recovery for the veteran all-rounder is expected to take two to three weeks and as such will be out for the remaining matches in the IPL.

 His loss will be a blow to CSK who often rely on his death bowling and explosive batting. Bravo has taken 147 IPL wickets, 110 of which he took playing for the Super Kings.

The 37-year-old Trinidadian shared the sad news with his fans on CSK’s Twitter account.

“It’s sad news,” he said. “It’s sad for me to be leaving my team, team CSK. To all our CSK fans, I want you all to keep encouraging the team, keep supporting..”

Bravo’s injury could also have implications for the West Indies cricket team as he was selected as a member of the T20 squad that is to play three matches against New Zealand in New Zealand next month.

 

Nineteen-year-old Jayden Seales said he was pleasantly surprised when he received word that he had been called to be a reserve player for the West Indies for their upcoming three T20, two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Jos Buttler powered Rajasthan Royals to a much-needed victory in the Indian Premier League, his unbeaten 70 inspiring a seven-wicket defeat of Chennai Super Kings.

The Royals had lost six of their last seven matches heading into a meeting with a CSK side that also started the day on six points from nine games.

CSK won the toss and their decision to bat first ultimately proved ill-advised, though Rajasthan initially laboured in pursuit of 126.

Buttler came to the crease with the Royals teetering on 28-3 in the fifth over and had to exercise patience alongside Steve Smith (26 not out) before being able to cut loose.

When he was able to get into his rhythm, Buttler produced his brilliant best, hitting seven fours and a pair of sixes in a 48-ball knock that helped Rajasthan move within two points of the top four

CSK earlier recovered from 56-4 to reach 125-5 thanks to a fifth-wicket stand between MS Dhoni (28) and Ravindra Jadeja (35 not out), however, a run out of the former by Jofra Archer and Sanju Samson proved key in keeping them under 130.


ARCHER EXCELS AGAIN

Archer has been outstanding for Rajasthan, adding to his reputation as one of the world's most fearsome fast bowlers in all formats.

He was excellent again on Monday, removing Faf du Plessis with the final ball of the third over and sending down 11 dot balls in his 1-20.

The England paceman ran out CSK skipper Dhoni to end an ominous partnership with Jadeja, though the Royals initially made heavy weather of a manageable chase.

BUTTLER LEADS ROYALS RESURGENCE

Though he and Smith had to deal with some concerted pressure early in their decisive stand of 98, Buttler eventually got his reward for frustrating the CSK attack.

His was an innings typically defined by precision and timing and a 15th over that saw Buttler hit England colleague Sam Curran for three successive fours effectively took the game away from CSK.

Rajasthan were left needing just 18 off the final five overs and there was to be no dramatic collapse, Jadeja falling over the boundary rope at long-on for Buttler's final six in the 17th over before Smith then hit the winning run.

Cricket West Indies will be closely monitoring the health of all-rounder Dwayne Bravo as he works for a speedy recovery from a groin injury sustained while playing for Chennai Super Kings against the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League on Saturday.

The injury is not only a concern for CSK but for CWI, whose selectors picked the 36-year-old Trinidadian in their T20 squad to travel to New Zealand next month. As such, the regional board is keen to be in the know about his rehabilitation.

“We are in contact with him and the CSK medical team, so we are being kept updated with his treatment and recovery,” CWI CEO Johnny Grave told Sportsmax.TV on Sunday.

Meanwhile, CSK have said they do not have a timeline for the recovery of the veteran player.

"He seems to have a right groin injury, I think, and it was obviously serious enough to keep him off the field," CSK head coach Stephen Fleming explained at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

"He will have to be reassessed going forward, but at this stage, you'd imagine it's going to take a few days or a couple of weeks.”

Bravo had arrived for IPL duty in the UAE with an entirely different injury, a knee problem sustained during this season’s CPL.  He missed the Super Kings' first three games, as the team had decided to take extra caution.

Injury, concerns over safety and a need for a clear head are the reasons behind Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell’s decisions not to accept invitations to join the West Indies’ tour of New Zealand starting next month.

The West Indies on Friday named a 14-man squad that is expected to play three T20 Internationals in New Zealand later this year that included Andre Fletcher who was making a return to the squad after a two-year absence as well as Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo. However, it was noticeable that Russell, Lewis and Simmons were absent.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained during a press conference Friday morning that the three batsman gave different reasons why they opted out.

Simmons, he said, decided against travelling after discussions with his family. Lewis, he said, also discussed the issue with family but was also concerned about a injury that needed more time to heal.

Russell, who is currently playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, said he needed time to clear his head after being in quarantine situations in the Caribbean Premier League and IPL competitions.

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted,” Harper said in a release from CWI.

However, the respective decisions to decline the invitations to tour will not factor in the selection process to future teams, CWI said.

 

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