But on Monday night, a very different Kohli was in sight when Royal Challengers Bangalore were eliminated in the Indian Premier League Eliminator by Horsemen of the Kolkata Knights. RCB lost by four windows to get out of the fray, and Kohli seemed subdued and vulnerable.
After Shakib Al Hasan scored the winning run, a dejected Kohli approached his teammates and opponents, tears about to roll down his cheeks. Usually the Delhi cricketer keeps his emotions in check in defeat. But this was a painful loss. It was his last game as franchise captain, and he knew his long stint at the helm would end without a trophy. He would say goodbye as the only one of the three great Indian stars: Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma being the other two – not having raised the IPL trophy.
The tears finally fell in a torrent. At the team meeting later, it wasn’t just Kohli who collapsed; AB by Villiers, his great companion, also cried. Kohli has come close to the trophy only once since replacing Daniel Vettori in the middle of the 2013 season. He has the most runs (4,881) of an IPL captain, the most runs in a season of any batter (973 in 2016), the largest number of centuries (5) and the maximum of 50 as well (40). But the trophy was never his. That will surely hurt, to explain the tears.
As a patron, Kohli has had a roller coaster ride with 64 wins and 69 losses in 140 games (three draws and four no results). On most occasions, especially in 2016 when RCB lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the title round, Kohli led from the front, with De Villiers and Chris Gayle equal partners for racing. But a team with a large amount of talent is very short in planning, execution and delivery as a unit. Even if it didn’t translate into eventual success, a lot of players have spoken at length about Kohli’s aggressive approach as a source of inspiration.
Speaking to the official announcer about his long tenure as captain, the 32-year-old reflected: “I have done my best to create a culture here where young people can come in and play expressive cricket, play with conviction. It’s something that I do.” I have also tried to do it at the level of Indian teams. ”
CHANGE OF GUARD: Virat Kohli will give way to new skipper of Royal Challengers Bangalore next season
Describing his efforts, Kohli added: “All I can say is that I have given my best. I don’t know how the response to that has been, but I can vouch for the fact that I have given my 120% to this franchise all. the years, leading the team. ”
Kohli, who has been with the franchise since the start of the league, reiterated that he would continue with the Bengaluru-based team.
“I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. To me, loyalty matters more than other things that, from a worldly point of view, seem more important. This franchise has believed in me, and my commitment is to this franchise to the end. day I play the IPL ”, he affirmed.
When RCB returned to the drawing board to not only find a new pattern, but also to put together a revamped team, Kohli signaled that it was time for the franchise to start over.
“I will continue to push myself 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 can take this culture and this franchise to the next level.” , moving forward, “he added.
When Kohli, the captain, left the field in Sharjah on Monday night with the team finishing fourth, it marked not only the end of an era but the beginning of a new one for RCB, with a new leader and a new team but the same. always. motivation – to break your IPL duck.