Virat Kohli is one of, if not the most scrutinised player in world cricket. And his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) disastrous start to this year’s IPL campaign with six consecutive losses has brought his captaincy skills back on the discussion table.
Amidst the ruins for RCB, also lies the underlying concern if the series of losses are leaving captain Kohli mentally fatigued in lead up to the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar rejects those fears. “The hallmark of a great player is someone who can focus on the next delivery and Virat is one of them. I don’t think the RCB performance will affect him. When you are playing for India, it is altogether different excitement and energy. So I think the extra week of break he will get if his team does not make it to the playoffs, he will use to refresh himself for the World Cup,” he told India Today.
To those suggesting Virat consider dropping out of few IPL games with RCB increasingly looking unlikely to make it to the playoffs, Gavaskar suggests commercial considerations have to be weighed in the real world. “Yes, his franchise will want him to play all the games. So he will have a break if they don’t make it to playoffs. Even if his team has a great run and his team qualifies for the playoffs, no one can question his fitness standards. So he will be fine,” adds the legend.
But RCB languishing at the bottom of the points table this year following a sixth-place finish last year and wooden-spooners the year does add up. So are captain Kohli’s tactics to blame for RCB’s fate or does he simply not have the resources to win matches, we ask Gavaskar.
“Both are true. The bowling attack he has with India in all forms of the game makes a big difference. He doesn’t have such bowlers for RCB. And you can question some of his bowling changes in an odd game. But that’s all in hindsight. When it comes to these bowling moves in T20 most bowlers do take a hit and it’s ultimately his call in a pressure situation,” he states.
While captaining India, Gavaskar says Kohli has the team to produce results. “As far as the question around his captainship goes, it’s true that in the last few years he may have got a few decisions wrong leading RCB but when it comes to leading India, there are not too many decisions he has to go and make because whoever he hands the ball to, takes wicket for him,” he says.