Kohli states his wish to finish his IPL career with the Bangalore franchise.
Ahead of the Royal Challengers Bangalore‘s opening game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the former’s captain Virat Kohli announced that the 2021 edition will be his last edition as captain for the team.
Kohli made the following statement:
“I’ve spoken to the squad this evening before the second leg of the tournament starts, to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB. I spoke to the management this evening, something that was on my mind for a while, as I recently announced stepping down from [India] T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over the last so many years. And I want to be able to continue to be committed to the responsibilities that I’m fulfilling and I felt I needed this space to refresh, to 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, I’ve 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 one. I will continue to be an RCB player till I play my last game in the IPL.
But it’s been a great journey of nine years of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness and I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and believing in me relentlessly and unconditionally. And I will continue to be committed to play for this franchise as I said till the last day of me playing IPL… for you guys, for the fans, because of what you’ve done for me and how you’ve made me feel over the last so many years that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.
So thank you so much, this is just a little halt, it’s not the end of the journey. The journey will continue and it will continue the same way that it has for so many years. Thank you.”
Kohli, who had taken over as captain of the Royal Challengers from former Kiwi Daniel Vettori in 2013, is in his ninth season as captain and even led his side to the final in the 2016 edition, although they came off second-best that night against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Kohli has led the team 132 times, been victorious 60 times along with four No Results, three Ties and 65 defeats. The team also reached the Playoffs twice under Kohli’s captaincy, in 2015 and 2020.
Kohli’s announcement comes on the back of his recent decision to also step down as the national side’s captain in the T20 format, and with these decisions, it is clear that Kohli, who has been struggling a bit with his personal form, has decided to focus wholly on his batting and deliver what matters most – the runs.
Speaking about Kohli’s decision to step down, RCB’s Chairman Prathmesh Mishra said:
“Virat Kohli is one of the finest cricketers and has been a true asset to RCB. His impeccable work ethic and leadership skills have been phenomenal. We respect and support this decision and would like to thank Virat for his incredible contribution to the RCB leadership group. He has left an indelible mark on the franchise and will continue to be a senior member of the team.”
With RCB sitting pretty in the table in the current IPL season, Kohli will hope to make the most of this opportunity and finally the IPL trophy to the franchise he has been playing for since the inaugural season.