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Wessels denies he was sacked

Former South African cricket captain Kepler Wessels confirmed yesterday he would not be returning to coach the Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural Champions Twenty20 League next month.

Wessels, who took the Chennai Super Kings to the final of the Indian Premier League earlier this year, said he had opted not to renew his one-year contract.

He added commitments in South Africa had made it impossible to continue his relationship with the ultra- rich Indian franchise.

He also denied a report in the New Dehli-based Hindustan Times which suggested he had been sacked.

“That‘s totally untrue. I had a one-year contract and that had lapsed. There was an option for renewal but the problem is it became more than a seven- week assignment,” said Wessels yesterday.

“It was becoming more like a three-month thing which meant that I would have to give up all the other things that I was doing in South Africa, which wouldn‘t have made it viable,” added the former Eastern Province captain.

“I told them I couldn‘t do it for that long a period and as it turned out the one- year contract was enough for me.”

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming will take over the reins from Wessels.

“The logical process was to let Fleming do the coaching role.

“He is not playing for them this time around and they still have to pay him for two more years. So it made sense to appoint him the new coach,” added Wessels.

The Champions Twenty20 League gets under way on December 3 with the final in Mumbai on December 10.

Chennai Super Kings face Australia‘s Victoria in their opening Group A encounter on December 4 in Mumbai. England‘s Middlesex and South Africa‘s Titans are the other teams in the group.

Fleming‘s appointment is the latest in the series of management changes by the IPL teams ahead of the second season.

Hyderabad‘s Deccan Chargers brought in Adam Gilchrist as their new captain, replacing VVS Laxman, while Bangalore‘s Royal Challengers replaced Martin Crowe with South African Ray Jennings.

Chennai Super Kings also announced that Albie Morkel and Michael Hussey would play for them in the tournament.

Hussey and Morkel were bought at the IPL auction for $350000 (R3,5-million) and $675000 (R6,75-million) respectively earlier this year and played crucial roles in the team‘s passage to the final, where they lost to Jaipur.

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