Virat Kohli’s tenure as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore, spanning 11 seasons, came to an end on Monday with his team being knocked out of IPL 2021 in the eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders. Earlier, he also announced he will step down as India’s T20I captain after the end of the upcoming World Cup.
In a discussion on the franchise’s official YouTube channel, Kohli explained the reasons behind his decision. As someone who had a lot of harsh criticism come his way after he retired from international cricket, AB de Villiers defended his Royal Challengers team-mate, explaining why retiring earlier than expected is not a “selfish” decision.
Let’s have a look at AB’s comments on Kohli’s rather earlier captaincy retirement.
ABD on Kohli’s legacy as Royal Challengers’ captain:
“I think Virat’s had an unbelievable run as captain. It’s been a privilege to play under him. I’ve been a fan of him leading over the last few years because of all the pressure he has taken on board over the years with the Indian team plus the IPL.
I feel this could be an environment where he could come out and have a bit of fun and sort of step away from Indian cricket for a while, have a bit of fun in the T20s at the IPL with a lot of international friends around and then go back into the high-pressure environment of captaining India in the formats.
That’s been the chat for the last couple of years. It’s got nothing to do with his ability as captain. We all know that he’s been unbelievable for us. Always lead from the front for RCB. Always made the best possible decisions for the team. He’s had a fantastic run. I’m sad to see him go as captain.”
ABD defends Kohli’ decision of stepping down as captain:
“I’ve been in the same boat before and I can relate to what he [Kohli] is feeling and what he’s been through. So there’s a mis-perception in my opinion when it comes to the public when they see people stepping down out of certain roles to let a bit of that workload go.
Where they see it as being selfish, it is exactly the opposite. It is not being selfish. Because of him doing that [stepping down from captaincy] he can be a better version of himself. There can be a captain coming in with that same kind of energy that he’s had for the last 7-8 years.
I was in the same position, took quite a lot of criticism for letting some things go, where I felt I was actually doing the right thing for the team and not being selfish in the same process.”
Going on for too long is Selfish – ABD
“There is such a thing as going on for too long. That, in my opinion, is selfish. People that want to hold on to power for longer than they know in their hearts they know they shouldn’t.
There is such a thing and people must remember that as Virat got the decision right, yes or no, that’s up to you to decide. In his heart, it feels 100% pure and he can be the best version of himself moving forward. In my opinion that’s the right decision.”