De Villiers to miss first tie

De Villiers to miss first tie

South African wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers will miss the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s opening game of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League against Mumbai Indians at the M Chinnaswamy stadium on April 4 due to his prior commitments with the Titans in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge back home.

The fiery right-hander will play the semifinals against Warriors on April 3, and if his team qualifies for the final to be held on April 7, the 29-year-old wicketkeeper will miss RCB’s second match against hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9 as well.

De Villiers -- into his third season at RCB -- will be sorely missed and the Bangalore side may have to rely on the services of Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman Arun Karthik until the Protean, who got married to girlfriend Daniel Swart in Johannesburg on Saturday, returns to bolster the squad.

While the news of De Villiers’ absence is one to worry about, the arrival of Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan was something that lit up the mood at RCB’s camp at the National Cricket Academy on Saturday. The 40-year-old off-spinner was a bundle of energy as he casually talked to all the players present, and more often than not, had them laughing at his remarks. Muralitharan bowled for over thirty minutes and appeared to be in control of his line and length. Following the net session, the Lankan hit the massage table and made an exit soon after.

Meanwhile, left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan, who did not bowl in the nets since his first stint a couple of days ago, skipped training and attended RCB team-mate Virat Kohli’s charity football match in Delhi. With Sunday being an off day, the camp will resume from Monday with some more players expected to arrive in the City but the big wigs -- Chris Gayle and Tillakartne Dilshan -- are likely to touchdown late on April 1, just a couple of days before the season gets underway.

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