India is perhaps the only country in the world where cricket is nothing less than religion and players are treated as supernatural beings. From unconditional love and faith in players to funny superstitions of fans just to ensure their favourite team wins the challenge, we see it all in the country. One thing that people must appreciate about Indian fans is their loyalty and support towards their team. As far as IPL is concerned, Royal Challengers Bangalore is one of the top-notch high-profile teams in the competition. And why not? If one takes a close look at the legacy of players who have represented the franchise in the past, all you will see flashing in front of your eyes is one world in bold and caps and that is ‘LEGENDS’.
While the franchise has seen many players come and go, one person who has been a constant in the term right from the first season in 2008 is Virat Kohli. Virat Kohli was hailed as RCB’s best investment ever as they decided to retain Kohli in 2009 at a time when he wasn’t even half the superstar he is today. The move paid off wonderfully as Kohli had been scoring plenty of runs for the franchise almost every season. But hey, no matter how much entertainment we get seeing those blistering cover drives and flicks, all that matters at the end of the day is the net result. Call it a tale of tragedy or whatever, but you might just be surprised to know that RCB is the only franchise in IPL history to have made it to the knockout stage as many as 8 times and yet not lift the trophy. Well, no wonder they are called ‘South Africa’ of IPL since the proteas too carry the reputation of being ‘chokers’ when it matters the most.
Ever since the past few seasons, a lot has been said and written about Virat Kohli’s ability as a skipper and how he should just perhaps focus on his game and let someone else take charge. We even saw a lot of trolling and bashing against Kohli in the past whenever RCB would get knocked out at an early stage. Not sure what happened behind closed doors but there was certainly something that triggered Virat Kohli earlier to leave aside captaincy for this season. While many would have hoped that a veteran like Faf Du Plessis would have changed their fortunes, sadly, that wasn’t the case this year. Well, just another valid instance to prove the point that a change of personnel doesn’t always ensure a change in results.
But hey, if one takes a closer look at RCB’S graph over the years, there are two factors that absolutely no one can ignore. First would be over-dependence on the likes of Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers for the longest time and secondly, RCB has never really seen many local players flourish after representing the side. While Mumbai Indians have given the country players like Jasprit Bumrah, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Ishan Kishan and many more who have gone ahead to represent the country for a long-term basis, sadly enough, barring Yuzvendra Chahal, we can’t think of any other youngster from RCB. Adding to that, they have done too much of chopping and changing around three or their main players over the season aka Virat, Gayle and De Villiers and that’s why, no matter how much a player is talented, players have found it difficult to come out of the shadow of this ‘Trimurti’ and prove their mettle in positions where they could flourish the most. Another big reason why RCB has perhaps failed to lift the trophy despite coming so close is a brilliant quality bowling attack. No matter how much we talk about T20 cricket being a batsman’s game with flashy sixes and handsome boundaries all at once, the crux of the matter remains that it will always be bowlers who will win you crucial games. Out of the 8 times when they qualified for knockout stages, it is primarily the bowling that has let them down on the given day. Either they went for too many runs which added pressure on the batsman to score right from the word ‘go’ or they just couldn’t defend scores which should ideally have been competitive.
Just like other years, this year too, RCB fans are distraught and heartbroken. But hey, emotions don’t win you tournaments right? It’s high time the team management lets Virat Kohli breathe and just be himself and create a good quality squad who will not only take the side to tournaments but will also step up to the occasion when it matters the most. In any case, placing your bet on Faf Du Plessis who’s retired from the International captain as your new skipper after Kohli was never going to be a long-term decision, something that we even mentioned when we did an opinion piece about the importance of ‘young captains’ in IPL 2022. The entire franchise must be in jeopardy now whether to go ahead with Faf as skipper next season or look forward to something else. Also, will Faf Du Plessis who will turn 38 by the time the next IPL happens play the tournament himself? Time for RCB think tank to pull up their socks and get their basics sorted because if the same pattern is seen next season, we might see many records broken by the end of the season, but we will also see many hearts broken once again and you just can’t afford this the next time. No more decision-making as per your whims and fancies, please.