DUBAI: Virat Kohli will never be able to understand the kind of impact he has had on Royal Challengers Bangalore while leading the side, said AB de Villiers of his longstanding IPL teammate, in a rich tribute.
Kohli’s nine-year stint as skipper of the RCB ended with a four-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in the eliminator of the 2021 Indian Premier League at Sharjah on Monday. Kohli had said before the start of the UAE leg of the IPL that he would be stepping down as RCB captain at the end of the season.
#RCBvKKR Dressing Room EmotionsA sudden end to a fine season campaign, Virat Kohli’s last match as full time captain of RCB, the team spirit that brought us until here, – raw emotions in the dressing room at the end of our #IPL2021 journey.https://t.co/UstexXNKIA#PlayBold
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) October 12, 2021
“I have been here through all the years with Virat as captain and I think the word that comes to mind is ‘grateful’. We were very lucky to have had you at the front,” de Villiers said in a video posted by the franchise.
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“The way you captained this team has inspired everyone, certainly inspired me to become better as a player and a person. You have had a much bigger impact than you will ever understand, it has gone miles. There are stories that you don’t even hear of people’s lives that you have touched,” he said.
Since taking over as RCB’s captain in 2013, Kohli has led the team to the play-offs four times, including the last two seasons, and the final in 2016. Kohli led RCB in 140 matches, winning 66 and losing 70. Four games did not produce any results.
De Villiers said that Kohli’s contribution goes beyond his performance as a skipper or a batter. “I have known you on the field but away from it as well. You make people believe in themselves, which is much more important than winning a trophy. Which I still believe will come your way,” the versatile South African cricketer said.
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During their eliminator against KKR, on-field umpire Virender Sharma came under fire from the RCB captain after a poor lbw decision during the Knight Riders innings. “You have done a great job, but that book is not finished yet. Whatever you have done for us, we won’t forget it. Thanks for all the memories, and I think some of the umpires will sleep a bit better, very happy for them,” de Villiers said on a lighter note, referring to that particular call by the umpire.
Not the result we wanted but I am so proud of the character shown by the boys throughout the tournament. A disappointing end but we can hold our heads high. Thank you to all the fans, management & the support staff for your constant support. @RCBTweets pic.twitter.com/VxZLc5NKAG
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) October 12, 2021
On his part, Kohli thanked his teammates and said they can “hold their heads high”. “Not the result we wanted but I am so proud of the character shown by the boys throughout the tournament. A disappointing end but we can hold our heads high. Thank you to all the fans, management & the support staff for your constant support,” Kohli wrote on his Twitter handle.