BENGALURU: Three days after announcing his decision to step down as India’s T20 captain, Virat Kohli late Sunday night announced the change of guard at the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) from next season.
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.
Not the end of the journey, says captain Kohli
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 Vettori, 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.
Virat Kohli to step down from RCB captaincy after #IPL2021“This will be my last IPL as captain of RCB. I’ll conti… https://t.co/oS4UZeZKQH
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) 1632070853000
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 Day 1. 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.