"He [Virat Kohli] has been a part of RCB, and captained them for the last seven to eight years. He has been very lucky and should be thanking the franchise that they stuck with him. Because not many captains have got such a long rope where they haven’t won a tournament."
The statement that was made by Gautam Gambhir before the start of IPL 2019 drew different reactions. Some agreed, some did not but as the tournament goes on, the question is getting louder. And, the answer perhaps is yes. But, is Virat Kohli the main problem for Royal Challengers Bangalore? The answer here is a clear no.
Kohli was the instant choice to lead RCB and India once Mahendra Singh Dhoni stepped down but captaincy was never Kohli's strongest suit. He is a champion batsman and a charismatic leader but much like Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli's captaincy remains the chinks in his armour. And in this year's IPL, it has been exposed out there for everyone to see.
But as RCB suffered their sixth straight loss in this year's IPL, the Bangalore franchise has little or no option to replace the national captain. And, they have none but themselves to blame.
The 30-year-old has been found wanting everytime he has put on the Red & Black of Bangalore. With no wise head of Dhoni to guide, Kohli has fallen face flat more often than not. His tactics, field placements have come under severe scrutiny and he has done little to ease the pressure on himself and that has reflected in the results.
So, why is Kohli still leading RCB? Well! For starters, replacing Kohli is no mean feat and would take a lot of guts to do that but bigger and better captains have been replaced before and in a tournament like IPL, where so much is at stake, it should be a no-brainer.
But, over the last couple of years, Bangalore has had little or no success whatsoever in grooming a new captain or bringing in someone, who can take the mantle from the best player in the team. Unlike Kolkata Knight Riders or a Delhi Capitals, who replaced Gautam Gambhir with Dinesh Karthik -- an experienced campaigner and shrewd reader of the game and Shreyas Iyer -- already a captain of his state side -- respectively, Bangalore placed their bets on the best available option and yet again, it's turning out to be a nightmare.
So, what next for the franchise this year? One more loss and they are as good as out of the tournament. Can they turn it around and place their bet on someone else taking charge? Not sure. They don't have the type of players or player, who can get a dysfunctional group together in so little time and get the machine up and running. AB de Villiers remains the only candidate, who is capable enough to replace Kohli but his aversiveness to the role and time away from it doesn't sound like a good option for now.
Kohli therefore remains the sole person to spin the wheel and hope for a change in fortune. But, for that to happen, he needs a miracle and all the RCB management do is sit back, watch and pray for better outcomes in the remaining 8 matches.