Johannesburg, Feb 9 (PTI) Former South Africa captain A B de Villiers has said that he “made a terrible mistake” by sharing “false information” about the personal reasons that have forced star India batter Virat Kohli to take a break from international cricket, insisting that he has no idea “what’s happening there”.
On his Youtube channel a few days ago, de Villiers had claimed that Kohli opted out of the first two Tests of the ongoing home series against England due to the impending arrival of his second child with actor wife Anushka Sharma.
On Thursday night, he back-tracked on that statement in an interaction with select media on the sidelines of the ongoing SA T20 here.
“Family comes first, it’s priority as I said on my Youtube channel. I also made a terrible mistake at the same time, sharing false information that was not true at all,” de Villiers, who is the brand ambassador of the event, said.
“I just think that whatever is best for Virat and his family comes first, no one knows what’s happening there. All I can do is wish him well. Whatever the reason is for this break, I really hope he comes back stronger and better, healthy and fresh and ready to take on the world,” he added.
Kohli is unlikely to play any part in the ongoing series.
De Villiers also spoke about international cricket in general during the interaction.
The original Mr 360 degree, who could hit the ball to just about any corner of the ground, de Villiers said he is eager to see Surya Kumar Yadav’s performance in the T20 World Cup, where he feels, India would be one of the strongest contenders.
Yadav has been described as the next Mr 360 due to his wide range of strokes.
“There are too many players to watch out for in the T20 World Cup. However, I love to watch Surya Kumar Yadav, SKY bat. I am a big fan and hopefully, he has a great tournament,” de Villiers said.
He also feels that India can break the jinx of not winning an ICC trophy during the T20 showpiece in the West Indies and the USA this year.
“I am not a fortune-teller but I do think that India is one of the top contenders. The IPL has been going on for so many years and has really strengthened the depth of Indian Cricket.
“They are one of the strongest teams but then, it’s not always the strongest team that wins the World Cup,” said de Villiers.
“They know that they have to play their big moments well and have to take the opportunities at the right time with a little bit of luck. Then you lift the World Cup.
“That’s how they get a chance to come closer and maybe this time cross that line,” added one of the most innovative and destructive batsmen in the modern era.
He also dismissed suggestions that having the IPL just before the T20 World Cup would cause fatigue among players.
“Though IPL is so close to the World Cup but both are still T20 formats where bowlers have to bowl four overs in a day. It is not like Test Cricket where you have to bowl 15-20 overs everyday.
“I think they can handle and manage the workload,” said the former Royal Challengers Banglore player, who announced his retirement from all formats of cricket in 2021.
“There is also a short break after the IPL . Only two teams will play the final so rest will be fresh and raring to go in the World Cup. The Schedule is also like that players have rest between the games,” he added.
He also advised young cricketers to play Test Cricket as it is the ultimate format.
“However, there is also room for the T20 and ODI. The basics of the game stay very similar…It should be the dream of every cricketer to play Test cricket for their country which is the ultimate form of the game in my and many former players’ opinion as well,” he said
“It is the biggest and toughest challenge,” added the all-format great.
De Villiers, who holds the record for the fastest ODI fifty (16 balls), fastest ODI century (31 balls), and fastest ODI 15 0(62 balls), has a phenomenal record of 8765 runs in 114 Tests, 9577 runs in 228 ODIs and 1672 runs in 78 T20 internationals.
On his expectations from this T20 World Cup where 20 teams are in fray for the first time, he said that one or two upsets will definitely happen.
“We have seen so many Cricketers from the associate countries now feature in the IPL. Some of them are from Afghanistan, Nepal and quite a few others. It’s good to have a big tournament,” he signed off.