Eight seasons as captain, zero titles. And unlike most previous seasons, Virat Kohli also didn’t enjoy much batting success during the 2020 IPL, with his 466 runs coming in at 121.35, his worst hit rate in any season he has been captain.
Those returns, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s poor performance – they lost each of their last five games, in the process wasting a possible top two result, qualifying only for the playoffs on the skin of their teeth and losing the Eliminator to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. – They have left critics, notably former India starter Gautam Gambhir, asking if Kohli should continue to lead the team.
Simon Katich, the head coach of the Royal Challengers, has defended Kohli’s leadership, highlighting two facets in particular: his mentoring of younger players, notably starter Devdutt Padikkal, who scored 473 runs, including five half centuries, in his debut season, and his ability to lift players up and keep them fighting until the end, including defending the team 131 below par against the Sunrisers in Friday’s Eliminator.
“We are very fortunate to have spent the last 11 weeks working with him and I think what we have seen is someone very professional, someone very, very respected by the group here, and not just for what he does.” in the field, “Katich said in a media interaction Saturday.” I think his time in the group, both he and his wife Anushka [Sharma] I spent a lot of time in the group, in the team room and socializing with everyone, and what we saw, we saw someone who is very involved in this group, he spent a lot of time with the younger players.
“We paired him with young Padikkal as a mentor, and we saw the growth in him throughout the tournament, having that time talking hitting with Virat Kohli is invaluable to his growth, and that’s the side that a lot of people don’t see Virat with. .
“The other thing we saw, which was very visible on the field, was that we have a leader who, no matter what the game situation is, gets the other ten guys to follow him and stay in the competition. And one thing. [for which] we are very proud of this group throughout this season is that we endured in the contest, we fought until the end, even last night [in the Eliminator] when it seemed like we didn’t have enough races on the board. We fought to the end, and that’s something we’re very proud of, and Virat can take a lot of credit for that. “
On the batting front, Katich pointed to some mitigating factors that contributed to Kohli’s returns, saying it was wrong to judge his season “solely on the numbers.”
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“I think what we saw this year was that we had consistent opening partnerships between Padikkal and [Aaron] Finch, “Katich said.” Although Finch probably [didn’t get] the volume of runs that he would have expected, we actually got strong opening associations, so from that point of view, that was an area we wanted to address.
“We got that, but then as a by-product of that it probably meant that Virat went into the innings outside of the power play on a number of occasions, which is never an easy time to start his innings, particularly here in the UAE, where he found that conditions, particularly at the end of the tournament, were beginning to slow down.
“That was a challenge for him, but we saw Virat’s class, particularly in the game against Chennai, where he got that 90 off. , or several times when the game situation did not help. It seemed like he was fine at the top of the bowling alley and we would lose ground at the crucial moment, and that would slow down his progress, so it cannot be judged by numbers alone.
“There were a number of games where he looked at home and comfortable and then unfortunately we were educated at times.”