IPL 2020: 'Highly Professional, Well Respected by Team' - RCB Coach Backs Virat Kohli as Captain
Royal Challengers Bangalore's head coach Simon Katich came to the defence of captain Virat Kohli after the team's exit from IPL 2020
- Cricketnext Staff
- Updated: November 7, 2020, 5:34 PM IST
Royal Challengers Bangalore's head coach Simon Katich came to the defence of captain Virat Kohli, who has been under criticism since the team exited IPL 2020 with a loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
There have been calls for Kohli to be removed as captain, with former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir calling for 'accountability' from the leader. Kohli had a moderate IPL with the bat, scoring 466 runs from 15 innings at a strike rate of only 121.35.
Katich, though, said Devdutt Padikkal's success at the top meant Kohli often came to bat after the Power Play, which was difficult in UAE conditions.
"What we saw this year, we did have consistent opening partnerships between Padikkal and Finch, even though we didn't get the runs we'd have hoped for from Finch, we actually did get solid opening partnerships," Katich said in a press conference.
"That was an area we wanted to address. We got that, but as a byproduct of that, probably meant that Virat came into the innings outside the Power Play on a number of occasions, which is never an easy time to start your innings particularly in the UAE where we found the conditions starting to slow up later on.
"That was a challenge for him, but I think we saw that the class of Virat, particularly in the game against CSK where he got 90 off 50.
"There were a number of times where the game situation didn't help. He looked well on top of the bowling but we kept losing wickets at crucial times, that would just slow his progress. So you can't judge him purely by the numbers. There were a number of games where he looked right at ease but unfortunately got stalled at times."
Katich also backed Kohli's leadership, saying he was professional, committed to the team and well respected within the franchise.
"From a leadership point of view, we were very fortunate to spend these last 11 weeks for the first time working with him. What we've seen is someone who is highly professional, someone very very well respected by the group here. And not just for what he does on the field. His time around the group, both he and his wife Anushka spend a lot of time around the group in the team room, socialise with everyone," he explained.
"What we saw - we've seen someone who is very invested in this group, spend a lot of time with the younger players, particularly we paired him up with Padikkal as a mentor. We saw his growth through the tournament, batting with Kohli is very valuable for his growth.
"That's a side a lot of people don't see Virat. The other thing we saw which was very visible on field is, we've got a leader that, no matter what the game situation is, he gets the other 10 guys to follow him and stay in the contest.
"One thing we're proud of is we hung in the contest and fought right till the end. Even last night, we didn't have enough runs on the board but we fought till the end. That's something we're proud of and Virat can take a lot of credit for that."
Earlier, Gambhir had said it's time for Kohli to take accounatbility for RCB's empty trophy cabinet. Kohli has been captain of the team since 2013.
“100%, because the problem is about accountability. Eight years into the tournament [without a trophy], eight years is a long time. Tell me any other captain…forget about captain, tell me any other player who would have got eight years and wouldn’t have won the title and would have still continued with it. So it has to be accountability. A captain needs to take accountability,’ Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.
“It’s not only about one year, it’s not only about this. I have nothing against Virat Kohli but somewhere down the line, he needs to put his hand up and say, ‘yes, I am responsible. I am accountable’.
“Eight years is a long, long time. Look at what happened to R Ashwin. Two years of captaincy [for the Kings XI Punjab], he couldn’t deliver and he was removed. We talk about MS Dhoni, we talk about Rohit Sharma, we talk about Virat Kohli...not at all. Dhoni has won three [IPL] titles, Rohit Sharma has won four titles, and that’s the reason they’ve captained for such a long time because they’ve delivered. I’m sure if Rohit Sharma wouldn’t have delivered for eight years, he would have been removed as well. There should not be different yardsticks for different people.
“The problem and the accountability starts from the top, not from the management nor the support staff, but from the leader. You’re the leader, you’re the captain. When you get the credit, you should take the criticism as well.