Failure lies where decisions aren’t made properly: Kohli on RCB’s underwhelming run
Gary Kirsten (L) and Virat Kohli addressing the media. (AFP Image)

They have always been packed with superstars yet Royal Challengers Bangalore find their trophy cabinet empty. Year after year, they start a season with sky-high expectations and amidst much fanfare only to see their wait for IPL silverware extend to another year. They do have some of the top names of the trade capable of turning it around on their days, evident from the fact that they’ve reached the final three times only to stumble at the final hurdle. (READ: Kohli dismisses speculations of limited IPL matches for India’s World Cup-bound players)

RCB is devoid of consistency but one thing that has stayed with them throughout the 11-year journey is the presence of Virat Kohli, but even the most complete batsman of the modern era has not been able to change the fortunes of the side, which he owed to bad decision making at crucial moments. (READ: Nehra in favour of players’ IPL preparation ahead of World Cup)

“The failure lies where decisions aren’t made properly,” Kohli said. “If I sit here and say our luck was bad, that won’t be right. You make your own luck, and if you make poor decisions and the other team makes good ones, you will lose. When we played big matches too, our decision-making wasn’t right. When your decision-making is spot on and balanced, those teams win the IPL. The teams that are more relaxed, don’t take the pressure too much, and take good decisions in pressure moments – they should get the credit for winning.”

RCB finished with the wooden spoon in 2017 but improved two places to finish sixth last year. Dig deeper and you will realise how poor they were at the start – from their first 10 matches, they won just three and were the favourites to finish last second season in a row. But RCB launched a late bid to make the playoffs with three straight wins before losing to Rajasthan Royals in their final match.

“We realised this last year. You shouldn’t create an atmosphere even before the tournament has started, that ‘We are going to win this year’, because there are seven other teams too. You have to be realistic. It’s not a one-team dominated tournament,” Kohli said. “From my point of view, I can ignore it. But if you can’t take a guarantee that everyone else is going to ignore it, then it can stay in your mind.

“That’s why I said it’s very important to be aligned with the team’s culture and vision and be a part of the team and not put expectations that are far away. No one wants to win more badly than the players, that anyone will guarantee you.”

This year, with the World Cup looming and speculations of players limiting their IPL participating doing the rounds, Kohli maintained it was important for the players of his franchise to take up responsibility and come together as a unit strong enough to get the job done. RCB is the only team apart from Delhi Capitals (formerly Daredevils) and Kings XI Punjab, from the very first edition, to have never won the IPL trophy and to change that, Kohli believes striving for excellence is key.

“What we’ve spoken about this year is to lay down a culture, which is the most important thing for any team,” he said. “One thing that remains an essence for any team is striving for excellence and being committed to what you want to achieve. That takes commitment on a daily basis, and that is something I’m looking forward to this season. We will require absolute professionalism from all our players. We’ll give responsibility to the players to handle themselves on the field, off the field, and take good decisions, be responsible about their life and the sport as well.

“We all are here taking care of that culture for now. We’re not going to be here after a few years, none of us can be here forever. But RCB will remain for a long, long time and the next lot of players that come in should feel that culture, embrace it and be proud of being part of this franchise.”