Time for Virat Kohli to give up captaincy: Gautam Gambhir

Written by Sumit Seth

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) qualified for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 playoffs with the narrowest of margins after edging Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on the basis of Net Run Rate. Though skipper Virat Kohli maintained that RCB ‘deserved to qualify’ despite the four consecutive defeats they faced en route to a top 4 finish, Gautam Gambhir isn’t in agreement.

Having been captaining RCB since the 2013 season, this was the 8th occasion where Kohli failed to lead the franchise to the title. When asked if RCB should look beyond Kohli as far as captaincy is concerned, Gambhir was in total agreement.

“100%, because the problem is about accountability. Eight years into the tournament [without a trophy], eight years is a long time. Tell me any other captain…forget about captain, tell me any other player who would have got eight years and wouldn’t have won the title and would have still continued with it. So it has to be accountability. A captain needs to take accountability,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Gambhir cited the examples of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni both of whom have been leading their respective franchises for years because of the success they’ve had. In comparison, someone Ravichandran Ashwin was removed from the franchise after just two unsuccessful years as Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) skipper.

“It’s not only about one year, it’s not only about this. I have nothing against Virat Kohli but somewhere down the line, he needs to put his hand up and say, ‘yes, I am responsible. I am accountable’.

“Eight years is a long, long time. Look at what happened to R Ashwin. Two years of captaincy [for the Kings XI Punjab], he couldn’t deliver and he was removed. We talk about MS Dhoni, we talk about Rohit Sharma, we talk about Virat Kohli…not at all. Dhoni has won three [IPL] titles, Rohit Sharma has won four titles, and that’s the reason they’ve captained for such a long time because they’ve delivered. I’m sure if Rohit Sharma wouldn’t have delivered for eight years, he would have been removed as well. There should not be different yardsticks for different people,” Gambhir highlighted.

Since it’s the captain who gets to lift the trophy and the one who is honoured the most when a team succeeds, Gambhir feels the accountability also has to be there when a captain fails to deliver, especially when the failure has been continuous over a number of years.

“The problem and the accountability starts from the top, not from the management nor the support staff, but from the leader. You’re the leader, you’re the captain. When you get the credit, you should take the criticism as well.”

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Sumit Seth