‘I Forgot How to Play The Game’: Virat Kohli Opens up About Why he Quit as RCB Captain

Ace batter Virat Kohli, who stepped down as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) revealed that he had lost “belief” and his “tank was absolutely empty” towards the end of his tenure.

“The time when my captaincy tenure was coming to an end here, I was left with no belief, to be very honest. I was gone, the tank was absolutely empty,” Kohli said while interacting with the RCB Women’s team before their match against UP Warriorz in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) on Wednesday.

The video was tweeted by the RCB from their official handle. Check the video here:

“But that was my own perspective, that was me just an individual saying that I have seen so much of this, I can’t just manage it, handle it anymore,” Kohli added.

RCB had a terrible time in 2019 when they lost six matches back to back and finished last. They finished at the bottom two years before that as well.

That edition of the IPL saw them getting skittled out for 49 against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), which remains the lowest team score in IPL history.

Also read – ‘Been Playing IPL For 15 Years And…’: Virat Kohli’s Motivational Speech For RCB Women Team After Torrid Start to WPL 2023

The best that the team performed under Kohli was in 2016 when they missed out on winning the trophy by a whisker, going down by a mere eight runs in the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Kohli led from the front in the 2016 edition with able support from AB de Villiers and emerged as the highest run-getter in that edition, with a tally of 973 runs, which included four centuries and seven fifties.

Thereafter, RCB reached the IPL playoffs again in 2020 and reached the knockouts in 2021 and 2022 too.

“…new people came in, they had new ideas, there was another opportunity. They were excited, maybe as an individual, I wasn’t that excited. But they created the energy and we reached the playoffs three years in a row,” Kohli said.

“Now we start every season with the excitement that was before and I feel excited now, the person who was not up to the mark. So it is a collective responsibility, if someone is feeling down as well, the others can pull them up.”

Kohli has been replaced by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis on the RCB skipper’s saddle, and his decision to relinquish captaincy followed his decision to step down as India’s T20I skipper after a poor run in the World T20 in 2021. He was later removed as the ODI captain of Team India and gave up the Test captaincy too after that.

The 34-year-old batter indicated that there were times when he was gripped by insecurity and tried hard to save his reputation.

“…I have needed constant reminders, even from youngsters, because they have a fresh perspective. I have been under pressure because I have played for so long, I have been insecure, I have tried my performances, my reputation like ‘Oh I am Virat Kohli, I have to perform in every game. I can’t afford to get out’.

Also read – WPL 2023: RCB Allrounder Kanika Ahuja Credits Virat Kohli for Match-winning Knock

“But these youngsters come and tell me, ‘why didn’t you hit the ball?’ and I was like, ‘he is right’. I couldn’t think about it because I am so caught up with me, me, me and what I should do and how people are looking at me and all that stuff that I forgot how to play the game,” Kohli said.

Kohli is fresh from a fantastic 186 in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia earlier this month. The century in Ahmedabad ended a three-year wait for a Test ton.

Kohli’s pep talk for the RCB Women’s team seemed to have worked wonders and the team notched up their first victory in six matches on Wednesday beating UP Warriorz by five wickets. Player of the Match Kanika Ahuja, who played an important part in the victory with a quickfire 46, gave all the credit to Kohli’s motivational speech for the team’s success.

With PTI inputs.

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