As his 11-year-long captaincy tenure for the Royal Challengers Bangalore came to a close with a defeat in the IPL 2021 Eliminator on Monday, Virat Kohli said he has put in his heart and soul on the field for the side.
The India great also said that during his term he made a concentrated effort to create a culture within the camp where youngsters can play their natural game and progress along the way.
“I’ve tried my best to create a culture here where youngsters could come in and play expressive cricket, play with belief. It’s something I’ve tried to do at the Indian team level as well,”
“All I can say is that I’ve given my best. I don’t know how the response has been to that, but I can vouch for the fact that I’ve given my 120% to this franchise every year, leading the team,”Kohli said in a post-match interview on host broadcaster Star Sports.
Despite putting in his best effort, Kohli’s 11-season captaincy term sadly ended without an Indian Premier League trophy. The modern-day giant led his team in a total of 140 games, winning 64 and losing 69 of those.
The Royal Challengers’ best result under Kohli’s captaincy came in 2016 when they finished runners-up. RCB also showed encouraging signs in the last couple of seasons, successfully making it through to the playoffs.
While at the helm, Kohli made 4,881 runs at an average of 42.07 and strike-rate of 133.32. His tally included five centuries, four of which came in an unprecedented 2016 season where Kohli made a jaw-dropping 973 runs from his 16 innings and led his team’s surge to the final from the front.
Even though there is no clarity yet on the number of retentions that teams would be allowed to make ahead of IPL 2022 next year, Kohli expressed his desire to continue playing for RCB, saying “I don’t see myself playing anywhere else”.
“To me, loyalty matters more than worldly pleasures,” the great cricketer added to a round of applause from the RCB fans and all else present at the stadium.
This franchise has believed in me and my commitment is to this franchise till the last day I play the IPL.”he said.
Kohli had announced his decision to bid farewell to RCB captaincy at the start of the UAE leg of IPL 2021, which was a follow up to his decision to quit India’s T20I captaincy as well after the coming T20 World Cup. Both the moves are in line with a plan to shed some of the extra workload that Kohli has been carrying on his shoulders for a long, long time now.
When he put a timer on his India captaincy run, Kohli had specifically mentioned that his decision is based on an assessment around his “workload” being an India Test, ODI captain and all-format player.
As far as RCB is concerned, this signals the end of an era with Kohli ending his captaincy tenure and a pivotal middle-order player like AB de Villiers also likely to hang his boots not too long from now. With no other captaincy material within the existing squad, the franchise is likely to go into next year’s mega auction identifying and bidding wholeheartedly for a new skipper.
Reports are that KL Rahul, a former RCB player, could part ways with Punjab Kings ahead of IPL 2022. If RCB get Rahul back at the auction, that would be an ideal scenario considering the opener’s history with the franchise and his connection with the state of Karnataka.