SHARJAH: Virat Kohli expects the new leadership group in Royal Challengers Bangalore to maintain the “culture” of giving opportunities to youngsters for playing expressive cricket as his innings as captain of the side ended without an IPL trophy.
RCB was knocked out of this year’s edition after losing the Eliminator to KKR by four wickets but Kohli promised to stay with the team as a player because “loyalty” is everything for him.
“I have tried my best to create a culture here where youngsters could come in and play with freedom and belief. It is something I have done with India as well,” Kohli, who led the side for a decade, said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Kohli finished with below-par 66 wins to 70 defeats in 140 games as RCB skipper, something that will certainly be a blot in his chequered career.
“I have given my best. I don’t know how the response has been, but I have given 120% to this franchise every time, which is something I will now do as a player. It is a great time to regroup and restructure for the next three years with people who will take this ahead,” the outgoing skipper said.
“I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. Loyalty matters more to me than worldly pleasures. I would be in the RCB till the last day I play in the IPL.”
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On the match, Kohli felt that it was trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy who tilted the match in KKR’s favour.
“Those middle overs where their spinner dominated the game was the difference. They kept bowling in tight areas and kept picking wickets. We had a great start and it was about quality bowling and not bad batting. They thoroughly deserve to win this one and be in the next round.”
Kohli was happy that his team fought till the end.
“The fight till the end with the ball has been the hallmark of our team. That one big over (22 runs) in the middle deflated our chances. We fought till the last over and made an amazing game out of it.”
Kohli admitted that the par score could have been around 155.
“Fifteen runs less with the bat and a couple of big overs with the ball cost us. Sunil Narine has always been a quality bowler and today he once again showed it. Shakib, Varun and him created pressure and didn’t allow our batsmen to get away in the middle.”