I love this franchise (RCB), the city, fans, deep connection : Virat Kohli

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I love this franchise (RCB), the city, fans, deep connection : Virat Kohli

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Arun S Kaimal

04/12/2016

Ahead of their first match of IPL 2016, RCB skipper Virat Kohli expressed his love for the franchise and the city of Bangalore. The batsman also thanked Vijay Mallya for choosing him, before he went on to talk about RCB's performance in the past and the team's expectations in the coming season.

"My association with RCB has been special as it has been exciting from the first season. I was chosen to play for RCB by Mr Mallya. I have learnt so much and getting to play with the world's best players. I am welcomed here warmly, I love this franchise, the city, fans, deep connection," he told reporters on the eve of Royal Challengers Bangalore's clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Chinnaswamy stadium, reported PTI.

Asked about RCB's poor string of performances in the past, Kohli chose to focus on the positives. "There is always a feeling that we haven't been able to lift the title having been runners-up twice. That is one hurdle we haven't been able to cross despite wanting to, but as a team, we have been among top three," he said.

When asked about the team's chances in the coming season, Kohli was non-committal understandably. "I wouldn't like to comment. Too long a tournament to think of the winning the title. We would like to be in a position to reach the play-offs first on our own effort and not depend on other teams, run rate, etc. Our number one priority is not to depend on any other team to reach the play-offs stage," he said.

RCB have been perennial under-achievers in the league despite having the fabled triumvirate of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and A B de Villiers as its top-three. The team was further bolstered by Mitchell Starc's entry in 2014, but have failed to deliver the goods despite the obvious abundance of talent.

It appeared 2016 would finally be the year when things would come together for the franchise. However, RCB's hopes were lent a serious blow when Mitchell Starc was ruled out of the season after he could not recover in time from the injury that had kept him out of the T20 World Cup as well.

Kohli expressed regret at not having the services of Starc, but noted that there are multiple players who could fill in parts for the talismanic bowler.

(Also read Hoping against hope, year after year : Life of an RCB fan )

"We will miss Starc, but we got Watson, who is very economical in bowling. An all-rounder like him can think like a batsman and bowl accordingly. We also got Harshal Patel, Adam Milne who is clocking 150, and Stuart Binny. We have a wonderful mix but everyone has to play their roles and work to potential," he said.

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