Dubai : Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) announced on Sunday that Virat Kohli will step down as the captain of the team after the end of IPL 2021 season. The announcement was made through a video posted by the franchise on social media, three days after Kohli said that he will be quitting as Indias T20I captain after the mens T20 World Cup in the UAE next month. Kohli will continue to be a part of the RCB squad.
“Hello everyone, to the RCB family, amazing fans of Bangalore and to everyone who has been a supporter for RCB for so long, I have an announcement to make. I have spoken to the squad this evening before the second leg of the tournament starts to inform everyone that this will be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB,” said Kohli.
“Spoke to the management this evening, was on my mind for a while as I had recently announced stepping down from T20I captaincy to manage my workload with which has been immense over the last many years. I want to be committed to the responsibilities that I am fulfilling. I felt I needed this space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward,” added Kohli.
Kohli has been with RCB since the inception of IPL in 2008. He was appointed captain of the team in 2013, but was unable to win an IPL trophy. Under Kohli, RCB’s best show came in 2016 when the team reached the final, losing to Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight runs. That season, Kohli led from the front with the bat, scoring 973 runs including four centuries, the most runs by any player in an edition of the IPL.
“I also understand that RCB is coming through a transitional phase with the big auction coming next year. I have made clear to the management that I can’t think of being in any other team other than RCB. I’ll continue to be an RCB player till I play my last game in the IPL. It has been a great journey of nine years of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness.”
“I just to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for believing and supporting me relentlessly and unconditionally. I will continue to be committed to play for this franchise till the last day of me playing the IPL. For the fans, because of what you have done for me, how you made me feel over the last so many years, that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you so much. It is just a little halt, not the end of the journey. It will continue the same way that it has for so many years,” concluded Kohli.
Last season, RCB qualified for the play-offs for the first time since 2016, but lost in the eliminator to Hyderabad, suffering five straight defeats at the end. In 2019 and 2017, RCB finished at the bottom of the points table apart from coming sixth in 2018.
“Virat Kohli is one of the finest cricketers, and has been a true asset to RCB. His impeccable work ethics and leadership skills has 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,” said Prathmesh Mishra, RCB chairman in a statement.
RCB, ranked third in the points table, will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their first match of the UAE leg of IPL 2021 in Abu Dhabi.