How cricket star De Villiers became Dusty’s newest fan


Richmond’s Dustin Martin has yet another new fan, Simon Katich has explained.

While coaching Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League in Dubai between September and November, Katich was able to watch his beloved Tigers in the AFL Grand Final in late October.

Katich explained how South African star AB De Villiers took an immediate liking to Martin while watching him in action as the Tigers defeated Geelong to claim their third premiership in four years.

“Dusty’s got a new fan,” he said on SEN Test Cricket.

“AB De Villiers wanted to be named Dusty De Villiers after seeing him play for the first time.

“His first ever game of AFL he watched and he was very, very impressed.”

The former Aussie batsman was also pleased to witness the reaction of Aaron Finch, who is a staunch Cats fan.

“What a great day that was,” Katich added.

“The best part of it was watching it in Dubai in our team room and seeing Aaron Finch, who is a mad Geelong supporter, throwing bottles of water at the TV in the third term when Richmond were coming home strong.

“He wasn’t happy, Finchy. So I got a bit of humour out of that.”

Katich also suggested to Anthony Hudson, another Cats supporter, that perhaps we could see some more Richmond premierships in the coming years.

Asked if he fit the stereotype of an arrogant Tigers supporter, Katich said: “Not at all mate!”

“Three out of the last four years, and more to come while Dusty is playing the way he is.

“We got time to keep going on that, being a Geelong man Huddo?

“Dusty’s 29, still got his best days in front of him. A couple of the other boys are starting to climb up the ranks as well.

“Shai Bolton, Tom Lynch, the list goes on and on…”

De Villiers was lucky enough to witness Martin kick four goals and collect 21 disposals in the Grand Final as he claimed his third Norm Smith Medal.







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Follow the money and Villiers might provide a Christmas bonus


Wise guys figure the smart money for Waller horses comes late in betting, which was the situation at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.

Long ago, the world record was claimed on his behalf for outsiders beating a shorter-priced stablemate, a trend in modern day racing where major outfits have mass representation, all at full throttle.

Once, long before prizemoney really mattered, trainers had to get their Christmas bonus from a coup against bookmakers.

Maybe the Villiers being at group two level has lost prominence. Still when consideration is given to it losing status, a Happy Clapper (2015) scores. Happy Clapper was no Bernborough, which was triumphant in 1945, but the event has been littered with top performances including Dear John (1978) taking Villiers and then the Summer Cup (2400m) two days later.

Ron Quinton, now a trainer, notched the Dear John double as a jockey and has Royal Celebration engaged today in what hardly looks a vintage Villiers.

Through The Cracks and Criaderas have potential but queries regarding the 1600m distance and getting back in the field, thus susceptible to tempo problems.

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Having had only 12 starts, Waller’s Reloaded, with only one win to his credit, is on an upward spiral and best fancied in the market of the three, particularly with boom jockey James McDonald in the saddle.

Still Sambro, which was $19 in some outlets yesterday, has credentials, being a strong sixth beaten 2.2 lengths, in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill recently after McDonald declared a kilo overweight – a half-length penalty – a situation that would never have been tolerated in the Dear John era.

Surely Glen Schofield can ride Sambro at 54.5kg and from the two gate give him a smooth passage over a suitable course and distance considering he has been fourth and third in the last two Villiers.

Savacool, which is like Sambro a six-year-old, will have no trouble with the journey, but up-and-comers with their best to come are hurdles.

Those studying fluctuations, especially on the betting exchange Betfair, will be paying plenty of attention to a late Waller mover, possibly Reloaded.

Regarding last Saturday at Rosehill, punters came for Waller’s Oscar Zulu ($11 to $7) and got the money, with the same result for stablemate Vitesse ($7.50 to $4.80).

While the support was not as spectacular for their stablemate Bigboyroy ($4.10 to $3.70), the minor placegetter should have won, confirming the surge for him was right.

With a measure of insider trading, educated pelf has always been significant on the turf. Now it could hinge on well-fancied rivals that are deemed can’t win on appearance, stable mail plus big moves by plungers playing the overs market: horses at longer odds than their assessments indicate.

Back when price was so important in the events like the Villiers, jockeys gave signals. Should a trainer instruct the navigator “not today” when giving riding instructions in the enclosure, the jockey would relay the negativity by carrying his whip in a certain designated hand, undo a button on his silks after he mounted, triggering a betting ring reaction from supporters.

So why would these antics be necessary even in the festive season? Perhaps the cheek could be turned if a wife was stolen but not the betting odds about a horse “cuddled for Christmas”.

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AB de Villiers won’t return for Heat’s upcoming season


Superstar AB de Villiers won’t be back for this year’s Big Bash but the South African dynamo is intent on an eventual return to take care of some “unfinished business”.

Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann had been hopeful of securing de Villiers for a second straight BBL campaign, however it was a case of family coming first for the 36-year-old veteran who is expecting his third child.

“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,’’ Lehmann said.

“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. “

“We have always stressed the importance of family within the Heat and this is an instance where we fully back any decisions that AB makes in this regard.”

“We’ll stay in contact and see what develops.”

De Villiers was grateful for the Heat’s understanding and backing.

“It’s exciting for Danielle and me with the arrival of our new baby very soon, so, with a young, growing family, and the uncertainty around travel and 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 summer and I am very open to returning to the club in the future.

“The team didn’t get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with.

“I wish the boys all the best for BBL 10 and will keep a close eye on results as we go.”

In better news for the Heat, star Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman is returning for a third BBL season.

Mujeeb, 19, is the second international recruit locked in by the Heat, who also have English batsman Tom Banton in their squad.

Lehmann said Mujeeb had formed a “match-winning partnership” with Heat leg-spinner Mitch Swepson.

“He’s doing a lot of the little things as well as anyone, and his control and maturity have gone to a new level I believe,” Lehmann said of Mujeeb.

“He was outstanding in the Caribbean Premier League recently when he was the second leading wicket-taker in the competition, and he’s shown in the IPL that he can handle the very best.’’

“We’re very pleased to have him back with us and with the BBL schedule potentially looking quite different to the usual format, his versatility and ability to create chances in a range of conditions will be very important for us.

“I know Mujeeb enjoys coming to Brisbane and the challenge of playing in the BBL so it’s exciting he is coming back.

“We’re pretty pleased to put him alongside ‘Swepo’ and Matt Kuhnemann as our frontline spinners because your slow bowlers are so important as to how you set up your fielding innings.”

Mujeeb has taken 15 wickets in 18 BBL games at an economy rate of 6.08.

“I’ve enjoyed my two seasons with Brisbane Heat very much and I am very happy to be returning for another,” Mujeeb said.

“Hopefully the Heat can have a successful tournament.”

Current Heat squad: Tom Banton, Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Matthew Kuhnemann, Ben Laughlin, Chris Lynn, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Jack Wildermuth.



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Brisbane Heat lose AB de Villiers for 2020-21 Big Bash League season



The Brisbane Heat have confirmed they will be without AB de Villiers for the upcoming Big Bash League (BBL) season.

The South African great ruled himself out of the 2020/21 BBL season because of family reasons and the uncertainty of travelling to Australia amid COVID-19 border restrictions.

De Villiers, a star signing for the Heat last season, said he and his wife Danielle were expecting their third child.

“It’s exciting for Danielle and me with the arrival of our new baby very soon,” de Villiers said in a Heat statement.

“So, with a young, growing family, and the uncertainty around travel and conditions due to COVID-19, we reluctantly decided it wasn’t going to be this season.”

De Villiers, who scored 146 runs at an average of 24.33 last season, said he was “very open” to returning to the Heat in the future.

“The team didn’t get the results we were hoping for [last season] and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with,” said de Villiers, who is currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he respected de Villiers’s decision and hoped he would return to the club at some stage beyond this season.

“We have always stressed the importance of family within the Heat and this is an instance where we fully back any decisions that AB makes in this regard,” he said.

“We’ll stay in contact and see what develops. He has been in excellent touch in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, so he obviously remains a player we’d like to keep working with when the circumstances allow.”

Although the Heat have lost de Villiers, they have been buoyed by the re-signing of Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Mujeeb is the International Cricket Council’s number two-ranked T20 international spinner.

He joins England’s Tom Banton as the Heat’s two overseas signings.

“I know Mujeeb enjoys coming to Brisbane and the challenge of playing in the BBL so it’s exciting he is coming back,” Lehmann said.

The 10th BBL season gets underway in December.



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AB de Villiers sees his younger self in Josh Philippe


11:08 AM ET

Adam Gilchrist believes Josh Philippe is capable of being Australia’s “catalyst for change”. Steven Smith sees “no reason why Philippe can’t play all formats”. Now, the 23-year old Western Australian wicketkeeper has another admirer in AB de Villiers, with whom he’ll share a dressing room at Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2020.

“We are going to have some world-beaters,” de Villiers told RCB TV. “We will have (Aaron) Finch, Moeen Ali, Adam Zampa and Josh Philippe. I am looking forward to connecting with Josh. I see a lot of similarities between the way he plays when I was younger.”

A batsman firmly in the Gilchrist mould, Phillipe will be a first-timer at the IPL after he was bought at the December auction. At the time, Mike Hesson, Royal Challengers’ Director of Cricket, admitted to being surprised at having signed him up at base price (US$ 280,000 approx). Phillipe himself admitted to being “shocked” that he was picked.

Phillipe has played just 13 List A games, but has enhanced his reputation following a stellar BBL season, where he helped Sydney Sixers clinch the title. He was the third highest run-getter in the season – his 487 runs in 16 innings at the top of the order came at a strike rate of 130.

The icing on the cake was his match-winning 29-ball 52 in a rain-reduced 12-overs shootout in the final against Melbourne Stars. It earned him the Player of the Match award. He finished the season strongly with three half-centuries in his last four outings after a mid-season slump.

In all, he hit five half-centuries and de Villiers had a ringside view of one of those knocks, a well-paced unbeaten 43-ball 52 in a fairly regulation chase against Brisbane Heat. “I am excited about Josh,” he said. “I watched him play for the Sydney Sixers. He takes the new ball on, he is a very talented player, I have heard Gilchrist say really some good things about him.”

Phillipe will be heading into the IPL on the back of a maiden stint with the Australian limited-overs squad in England. His only outings on tour were a bunch of warm-up games in the lead-up to both the T20I and ODI series.

In an interview to The Cricketer last week, Phillipe said he was most looking forward to learning a few tricks from Virat Kohli and de Villiers. “It’s surreal,” he said of the prospect of playing with two modern-day stars. “AB and Virat are two of the best in the world so it’ll be great to see how they train, play, and go about their business. It’s an amazing opportunity to rub shoulders with those guys and see how the best in the world operate.”



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