Says he will only play for RCB because “my commitment to this franchise is until the last day I play the IPL”
Virat Kohli’s IPL captaincy with Royal Challengers Bangalore, over 11 seasons, 2011 to 2021, came to an end on Monday with his team bowing out of IPL 2021 in the eliminator. Although he may have suffered as many losses as wins in his time (140 games, 64 wins, 69 losses, three ties, four no-wins), Kohli said through the ups and downs, he had given his all to the franchise as a leader , and sought to create an environment in which players could express themselves.
“I have tried my best to create a culture here where young people could come in and play expressive cricket, play with faith. It is something I have also tried to do at the Indian team level,” Kohli told Star Sports host the defeat with four wicket, Kolkata Knight Riders who had cut with two balls at home in the pursuit of 139 at home. but I can guarantee that I have given my 120% to this franchise every year, leading the team.
“And like I said, I’ll continue this effort on the field as a player from now on. It’s a great time to regroup, restructure the franchise for the next three years, and bring in people who have this culture and this can take franchises to the next level, moving forward. “
Kohli reiterated that he will continue to play for Royal Challengers only in the IPL. “Like I said, I do not see myself playing anywhere else. For me, loyalty is more important than other things that seem more important from a worldly point of view. This franchise has believed in me and my commitment is to this franchise until the last day that I play the IPL. “
While Royal Challengers finished fourth in IPL 2021, still looking for their first title win, they had a largely successful season. They had nine wins in 14 games in the league stage, and only missed a top-two finish for Chennai Super Kings at net pace. They also had several players who put together excellent seasons. Chief among them was pacer Harshal Patel, who finished with 32 wickets, the common-highest in an IPL season.
Harshal credited Kohli and the management of Royal Challengers for his growth as a bowler, saying that although Kohli will no longer be the captain, he will always remain a leader within the franchise.
“Of course everyone knows the kind of energy and passion that Virat brings to the field. He supports bowlers, gives them their space, lets them carry out their skills and plans. That I am very grateful to him,” Harshal said. “I’ve learned a lot from playing with him since I think 2012. In terms of his captain there are captains and there are leaders, and he’s definitely a leader. Just because he will not tag a captain have, does not make him any less a leader.
“I have said this many times, the RCB management and Virat have shown a lot of confidence in me from the beginning. Until this year, I had never played handball in the IPL. I had bowled [in domestic cricket] for Haryana [at the death] but never in the IPL. To give me that responsibility then, they must have seen something in me. They made the decision that I would bowl the hardest overs. I am very grateful for the faith they have shown in me.
“I was the same bowler as today, probably last year [when he played for Delhi Capitals]. But the fact that I did not get enough opportunities…
Kohli’s best result with Royal Challengers was in 2016, when he led them to the finals. They had also reached the final in 2011, but Daniel Vettori was the solid captain that season, with Kohli in three league games. They finished third in 2015, and also went out in the eliminator last season. In 2012-2014 and 2017-2019, they did not make the playoffs, finishing twice below the league in that final period.
Saurabh Somani is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo