Virat Kohli to step down as RCB captain after IPL 2021

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Virat Kohli will step down as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore after IPL 2021. Earlier this week, Kohli had announced that he will relinquish his India T20 captaincy after the upcoming T20 WC in the UAE and Oman. Appointed ahead of the 2013 season as a successor to Daniel Vettori, Kohli will end up with nine seasons at the helm for RCB. So far, the side has won 62 of the 132 matches under him to go with 66 losses and 4 no-results.

The best season finish under him so far has been a runners-up spot in 2016, a final that RCB lost to SunRisers Hyderabad by 8 runs at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, their home ground. Other than that, the franchise made the playoffs on only two other occasions under Kohli’s leadership: in 2015 and 2020.

“It has been a great and an inspiring journey, captaining a talented bunch of players in the RCB squad,” Kohli said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the RCB management, coaches, support staff, players, and the entire RCB family, who have been instrumental in the growth of the franchise over the years. It wasn’t an easy decision but one that has been well thought of and in the best interest of this wonderful franchise. The RCB family remains close to my heart as we continue to strive to achieve excellence. As I have mentioned previously in many occasions, I will only play for RCB until my retirement from the game of cricket.”

RCB Chairman Prathmesh Mishra said, “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.”

With a mega auction planned ahead of the next edition, RCB will be able to dive into their squad make-up focusing on Kohli as a pure batsman. Kohli, 32, got back to opening for RCB towards the end of last season and it could be a role he looks to fulfil going forward.

“Spoke to the management this evening. It was something on my mind for a while. As I recently announced, (I’ll be) stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload which has been immense over the last so many years. I want to continue to remain committed to the responsibilities I am fulfilling and I felt I needed this space to refresh, 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 a big auction coming in next year. I made it clear to the management that (smiles) I can’t think of being in any other team than RCB and that’s been my commitment from day one,” Kohli told RCB in his announcement video.

RCB restart this season’s campaign on Monday (September 20) against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi.

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Vishwas Gupta