Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified for the Indian Premier League playoffs this season after 3 years. The much-maligned side impressed initially as they won 7 of their first 10 matches. But a slump in the latter games resulted in the side narrowly qualifying for the playoffs in fourth place. They eventually lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator and the defeat resulted in some criticism levelled at captain Virat Kohli.
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Former India batsman and two-time IPL winning captain Gautam Gambhir said that it is time for the 32-year-old to be held accountable for the results and was vocal about wanting to change Kohli as RCB captain.
“100 percent, 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.
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On the other hand, Virender Sehwag supported Kohli, saying he is a fine captain who is being let down by an unbalanced team. Kohli’s RCB teammate Parthiv Patel was asked about Kohli’s captaincy and said that he feels Virat shouldn’t be held accountable for team’s loss.
“He is very attacking player himself. He likes to get on with it. I thought he was slightly defensive in taking those decisions as a captain. Other than that, he has been a very successful India captain, no doubt about it. But if you look around RCB’s records in eight years, it is obviously been a long, long time,” Parthiv told cricket.com.
“I am sitting at this point of time neither in Sehwag’s shoes (Backing Kohli to continue as captain) nor in Gautam Gambhir’s shoes (replace Kohli as captain). The franchise should decide on it. I don’t think as players, we have anything to say about it.”
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Kohli emerged as RCB’s second-highest run-getter with 466 runs including three half-centuries. After starting the tournament quietly, Kohli found his groove, but it’s his captaincy that has always attracted criticism. His India captaincy record is decent, but when it comes to the IPL, since taking charge in 2011, under Kohli RCB have reached the finals just once. Parthiv, however feels that blaming the captain alone is unfair.
“I personally felt that we had a team that could win the tournament. Everyone in the camp felt it. We had all the bases covered. Sometimes the playoff games just don’t go your way. Scoring 130 in a playoff game, we came very close. I thought we fought really hard. But as I said, you can’t just blame the captain. There are a lot of other things as well – there is director of cricket, there is head coach – there are a lot of other things involved in it. To blame the captain is also not true,” the wicketkeeper batsman said.
“I personally feel he (Kohli) should not be the only one held responsible for RCB not winning. The role of Mike Hesson, Simon Katich – quite experienced coaches, been there and thereabouts. There isn’t just one factor that is responsible. I feel Virat is not the only one who is responsible for RCB not winning.”