Virat Kohli / TOI: It’s hardly been three days after his decision to step down as India’s T20 captain, Virat Kohli announced on 19th September that he will be also stepping down from RCB’s skipper role.
On the eve of RCB‘s match against KKR in Abu Dhabi, the Bengaluru-based franchise’s skipper took to social media to announce the end of his reign at the helm that has lasted 9 years.
From a rookie player who joined the team for the inaugural edition fresh from the success of the U-19 World Cup in 2008 to taking over captaincy midway through the 2012 season from Daniel Vettotu, the journey with RCB has been a long one for Kohli.
As the big-ticket match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians was unfolding, Kohli put out his decision.
“Before the second leg of the tournament starts, I’ve spoken to the squad this evening to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB. This is something that was on my mind for a while as I recently announced stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over so many years. I want to be able to be committed to the responsibility that I am fulfilling,” the 32-year-old batsman stated.
Over the years, the Bengaluru unit has left people confused and amazed at the wealth of talent which hasn’t been able to come together as a trophy-winning unit. They did come close to laying their hands on the elusive trophy thrice — 2009, 2011, and 2016 — but fell short after showing a lot of character to get to the final. This has led to Kohli’s captaincy coming under the scanner.
Explaining on what prompted his decision, Kohli, who has led RCb in 132 matches, explained, “I felt I needed the space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward and also, understanding that RCB is going to go through a transitional phase with the big auction coming in next year.”
On more than one occasion during his two-plus-minute video message, Kohli reiterated that he would stay committed to the franchise till his IPL retirement. “I have made it clear to the management that I can’t think of being in any other team than RCB and that has been my commitment from DAY1. I will continue to be an RCB player till I play my last game in the IPL.”
Summing up his journey as RCB skipper, Kohli, under whom RCB failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2015 and 2020, said, “It has been a great journey of nine years of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness. This is just a small halt. This is not the end of the journey; the journey will continue the same way it has been for so many years.”
With the mega auction coming up next year, RCB’s overhaul strategy will now have to include looking for a leader as well.