Virat Kohli will step down as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain at the end of the IPL 2021 season. The news was announced on Sunday evening, during the Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians game in Dubai, by the franchise, and has come three days after Kohli had announced that he would be giving up the captaincy of India’s T20I team after the World Cup in October-November.
Kohli, who will turn 33 during the World Cup, undertook the captain’s responsibility at Royal Challengers in 2013; he has been a part of the franchise as a player since the inaugural of the IPL in 2008.
His 132 matches as captain in the IPL is only behind MS Dhoni’s record of 196, and although he has never won the tournament, his best season as a batter was in 2016 when he not only grabbed the orange cap convincingly for the most runsÂ but also helped the team reach the final, whereÂ they lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad. That was the one and only final for Royal Challengers under Kohli, but they did make the playoffs in 2015 and 2020 too.
On Sunday, Kohli announced his decision to the Royal Challengers squad before their training session. “I’ve spoken to the squad this evening before the second leg of the tournament starts, to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB,” Kohli said in a video message put out by the franchise on social media. “I spoke to the management this evening, something that was on my mind for a while, as I recently announced stepping down from [India] T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over the last so many years.
“And I want to be able to be continue to be committed to the responsibilities that I’m fulfilling and I felt I needed this space to refresh, to 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 the basis ofÂ Kohli’s statement, it would seem that Royal Challengers would retain him before the 2022 auction.
“I’ve made it clear to the management that I can’t think of being in any other team than RCB and that has been my commitment from day one,” Kohli said. “I will continue to be an RCB player till I play my last game in the IPL. But it’s been a great journey of nine years of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness, and I just want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and believing in me relentlessly and unconditionally.
“And I will continue to be committed to play for this franchise as I said till the last day of me playing IPLâ¦ for you guys, for the fans, because of what you’ve done for me and how you’ve made me feel over the last so many years that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.
“So thank you so much, this is just a little halt, it’s not the end of the journey. The journey will continue and it will continue the same way that it has for so many years. Thank you.”