Barely few days after announcing his decision to step down as India’s T20 captain, Virat Kohli announced the change of guard at the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore from next season. On the eve of RCB’s match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi, the Bengaluru-based franchise’s skipper took to social media to announce the end of his reign at the helm that has lasted nine years.
“… before the second leg of the tournament starts, I have spoken to the squad this evening to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB. This is something that was on my mind for a while as I recently announced stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over so many years. I want to be able to be committed to the responsibility that I am fulfilling,” the 32-year-old batsman stated.
Explaining on what prompted his decision, Kohli, who has led RCB in 132 matches, explained, “I felt I needed the space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward and also, understanding that RCB is going to go through a transitional phase with the big auction coming in next year.” On more than one occasion during his 2-plus-minute video message, Kohli reiterated that he would stay committed to the franchise till his IPL retirement.
Last week Kohli announced that he will step down as India's T20 captain after the T20 World Cup in UAE but will continue to lead the side in ODIs and Test cricket. "I've decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October," Kohli said in a statement posted on his Twitter page.
For some time, there has been speculation about Kohli's future as white-ball captain especially in the backdrop of Rohit Sharma's brilliant track record of winning five IPL titles for Mumbai Indians.
"I have given my everything to the Team during my time as T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward," he further added. The decision, Kohli said, was taken after consulting head coach Ravi Shastri, his heir apparent Rohit, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah. The T20 World Cup starts on October 17.