Bengaluru: On a night when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) were having a nightmare on the pitch in their first outing in the current IPL season, the team captain Virat Kohli was not his usual self as he had hurled down a googly earlier announcing that he will step down as captain of RCB after IPL 2021. Earlier this week, he had announced that he will relinquish his India T20 captaincy after the upcoming T20I World Cup 2021.
The inside story says that Kohli as a brand was losing its sheen due to his poor performance on the pitch. Still worse, there have been reports that he has been losing not just runs but also the respect of some senior players. To some extent, Kohli wants to rediscover his batting skills and prove that he still has the hunger for runs.
Reportedly, ever since he came out and questioned the Indian players’ “lack of intent” after the World Test Championship final loss, Kohli lost the respect of his peers.
A report published in The Telegraph India said the situation became so serious that at least one senior cricketer raised this issue in front of the BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
There have been unconfirmed reports about how he wanted Rohit Sharma out as his vice-captain. This was firmly dealt with by the BCCI and this upset the Indian captain. All this came in the backdrop of his major tiff with Anil Kumble earlier. The two were not on talking terms. Kumble is once again being considered as the team head coach after he was recently approached by the BCCI along with VVS Laxman following the retirement of team India's current head coach Ravi Shastri after the T20 World Cup, this was upsetting for Kohli and he did not like the move one bit.
“Kohli is losing control. He has lost respect and some of the players are not liking his attitude. He is no more an inspirational leader and he doesn’t earn the players’ respect. Some of them have reached their limits when it comes to dealing with him,” a report in The Telegraph India quoted sources as saying.
“Virat understands that he no longer calls the shots. His powers are on the wane and his every move will be questioned. There’s no doubt that he is one of the best batsmen in world cricket. But you cannot let leadership burden your batting,” the report added.
The run machine, known for flamboyant centuries, has failed to touch the three-digit mark in almost two years in the international circuit.
All said, Virat has a keen nose. He has sensed that he no longer enjoys absolute power in all matters. The developments in the last few weeks indicate a clear shift in the power dynamics; Kohli is surely not its focal point.
His ‘lack of intent’ comment took everyone by surprise. He didn’t take any names but it wasn’t hard to figure out who he was talking about.
Meanwhile, Kohli said, in what sounded like a farewell speech as a captain, that "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 on many occasions, I will only play for RCB until I retire 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 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."
"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 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.