India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli, on an Instagram Live with South Africa’s AB de Villiers, pledged his loyalty to the franchise for the foreseeable future, saying he wanted to inspire the younger players coming through.
Kohli is the only player in the history of the Indian Premier League to have played all the seasons with one franchise. He has also been leading the three-time finallists since 2012.
“There are people who take a dig at us [for not winning the IPL],” Kohli told De Villiers.
“But the one thing that never changed was why played the game and the love that we have for it; be determined and not be obsessed about the result.
“That is what we can do as players. The silverware and the numbers don’t matter that much. What matters is the number of people you can inspire; the impact you had as a player. Yes, the wins matter but it shouldn’t be an obsession. That is why I will be here at RCB, doing well for the team, just love for the fans.”
Kohli added: “It has been such an amazing journey. It is always going to be our dream, winning the IPL together. There is no scenario where I could think of leaving the team ever.
“You can feel emotional about the season not going well but till the time I am playing IPL, I am never leaving this team. The fans, their loyalty has been amazing.”
Kohli mentioned that he looks forward to a new player coming through and making his mark in the XI. Under Kohli, wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been one of stand-out players for the Bangalore-based franchise over the years.
“You want to empower people,” Kohli said. “I want to see youngsters coming into their own. I want a batsman who has played three Tests to come and score a 150. It need not always be a guy who has played 100 Tests. Sometimes, people have too much respect for how systems have been working. I think people have too much respect for people and systems.”
Kohli and De Villiers, friends and teammates, spoke about their favourite knocks against each other in international cricket. Kohli suggested that his best against the Proteas came in the thrilling drawn Test in Johannesburg in 2013. The 31-year-old also spoke about the duel he had against pace ace Dale Steyn during the match
“My favourite was against South Africa was when I scored 119 in Johannesburg. Dale [Steyn] kept chipping away at me and hurling bouncer after bouncer. After lunch, I pulled him wide of deep square-leg and then he stopped [laughs].”
De Villiers later mentioned that his favourite against India was a blazing century he scored in Mumbai in a 2015 ODI. South Africa romped to a series win as de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis slammed tons.
The duo spoke about the missed opportunity in the 2016 IPL final. Led by a belligerent Chris Gayle, RCB were on course to overhaul’s Sunrisers Hyderabad’s huge score of 208 but fell short in the end by just eight runs.
“We were so confident but such is life that things don’t go your way,” De Villiers remembered. Kohli, who was involved in a quick-fire partnership with Gayle, chipped in: “We were batting so well chasing 208 and were going so well, me and Chris [Gayle]. We needed 60-odd from 40 balls and can’t believe we messed that up from there.”
De Villiers, who could manage only a six-ball five that night, spoke about his dismissal in the final. “I still can’t sleep at night sometimes thinking about that ball from Bipul [Sharma]. I watch it on TV and think ‘Oh, De Villiers! What were you thinking?’”
AB and Virat’s joint India-South Africa XI: Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah