By Ishank Katyal
Former Indian batsman and two- time IPL – winning captain Gautam Gambhir says in an interview with ESPNcricinfo’s show T20 Time Out that it is high time that IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore should look beyond Virat Kohli as the captain of the team. On Friday, Royal Challengers Bangalore lost the Eliminator match against Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets, ending their season with seven wins and eight losses. Last time they made it to the finals was 2016 IPL, after that, Royal Challengers Bangalore ended at the bottom positions in the last three seasons.
But after seeing the team making it to the playoffs in IPL 2020, a lot of fans expected from the team to win the tournament. However, the team got crushed after they failed to defend 131 runs from Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Virat Kohli has been captaining this team since 2013 and have made it to the playoffs for the three times in eight seasons. Gambhir believes that it was time Kohli put his hands up and took responsibility for the results.
Would he change the captaincy if he oversaw the team?
“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.”
“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’.
Gautam Gambhir even took example of Kings XI Punjab, when they were not patient with veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after he failed to serve as the captain for just two seasons.
“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. “You can keep saying ‘we qualified for the playoffs and we deserved to qualify for the playoffs’, absolutely not. RCB actually never deserved to qualify for the playoffs. If you see the last four or five games, and even that one Super Over against Mumbai Indians, they were very fortunate that Navdeep Saini bowled that over brilliantly.
Otherwise they didn’t have a great season. From the batting point of view and the bowling.
“Eight years is a long time. It’s not that Kohli isn’t experienced. He captains India, he captains whichever team he plays for, but you’ve got to give results, you’ve got to deliver. Sport is all about delivering.”
Imagine if AB de Villiers have had a bad season, tell me what would have happened to RCB?
“He was the one who actually won them two or three games out of seven. I don’t think as a unit they’ve done anything different from what they did last year. It’s exactly the same this year as well. Only because you’ve qualified for the playoffs, just because of one individual’s absolute brilliance, it doesn’t make you a strong contender to win the IPL.”. said Gambhir.
Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar strongly agreed to Gautam Gambhir’s comments about the change of the leadership for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the show, but also said that it depends on the owners that who should be the captain of the team.