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Darryll Cullinan speaks about 'traditional' Virat Kohli and 'freak' AB de Villiers

Cullinan, in a rather shocking revelation, said that De Villiers accepted Test captaincy fearing backlash from South African public.

Virat Kohli AB de Villiers India South Africa Cricket
Cullinan said that he loved watching Kohli’s batting as it was ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’

Darryll Cullinan said that he loved Virat Kohli’s batting as it was ‘normal’ and ‘traditional’ while also describing AB de Villiers as a freak, Times of India reports. The former South African cricketer compared T20 Cricket to the sport of baseball and also voiced his concerns about the state of cricket in his home country. 

Considered a technically pure batsman during his playing days, Cullinan was scathing in his views about the shortest format of the game, especially with regards to the upcoming South African batsmen. He said that he feared the Proteas could head into a decline similar to that of West Indies Cricket, should the trend of focussing on the financially rewarding T20 cricket, continue.

“Look at the players who are good only in T20s. That's baseball,” Cullinan said.

“Darren Sammy can't hold a bat in Tests. The financial reward is so much. There is a more desire in our 16, 18, 20-year-olds to play T20s. I fear South African cricket is slipping like the West Indies. The coaching too is not helping them. I rarely see a kid in South Africa drive a ball with a high front elbow. It's all about slam-bang across the line.”

Cullinan believes that only a few players like Kohli and De Villiers were good enough across all formats of the game.  

“There's no mental pressure in T20 cricket. The pressure doesn't make you mentally tired. But there's too much of nonsense in batting these days. I see it in our domestic cricket as well.

“That's why I like Virat's batting. He is normal and traditional. He has the art of placing the ball and running. You don't have to be over smart. Virat is more effective than those who play those paddle shots and switch hits. AB is a freak. He has control over them. But the rest (in the SA lineup) I don't think can last long,” he said. 

South African batsmen were exposed in India: Cullinan

Speaking about South Africa’s 3-0 loss against India in the four-match Test series away from home, Cullinan dismissed the suggestion that the quality of pitches was to blame for the batting debacle. 

“I don’t blame the pitches in India for the dip in SA batting. They have been exposed. It is more a case of Indian bowlers exposing SA batsmen. The kind of dismissals were disappointing,” he said. 

South Africa suffered further embarrassment, this time at home as they lost against England 2-1 in the recently concluded four-Test series and according to Cullinan, the losses could have been prevented had the South African batsmen played themselves into form after returning from their tour of India by playing in domestic cricket.  

“I don't understand why didn't they bat in some domestic games before the England series. They hardly batted in India. Under such circumstances, you can't say you were tired. You needed to bat and get into form,” the 48-year-old said. 

De Villiers accepted Test captaincy fearing backlash: Cullinan

AB de Villiers South Africa Cricket
Cullinan said that De Villiers accepted Test captaincy out of fear

Commenting on Cricket South Africa’s recent decision to appoint De Villiers as their new Test skipper following the resignation of Hashim Amla, a move which was accepted by the swashbuckling batsman, Cullinan said that there was more to De Villiers’ stance than just ‘honour’ as he had stated. 

“AB took up the captaincy because he was afraid the South African public would turn against him," Cullinan remarked.

He also dismissed suggestions that too much cricket was being played and cited Dale Steyn’s recent injury troubles to validate his point. 

“I don't buy AB's theory of being tired. If you are contracted, you are bound to play in all three formats. The skill comes in managing the recovery period.

“For example, Steyn gets rested for months and suddenly comes on to bowl. At 33, he tries to give it all and gets injured. He needs to keep playing to stay fit. Even he says he is not playing enough cricket,” he said. 

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