Gautam Gambhir, on the back of RCB’s elimination on Friday, ripped Virat Kohli to shreds and urged the RCB skipper to hold himself accountable and resign as captain after failing to deliver yet again. Gambhir noted that any other captain would have been sacked after 8 years of sustained failure.
A familiar sight ensued in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Abu Dhabi on Friday as the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), led by skipper Virat Kohli, crashed out of the competition without tasting silverware for the 13th season running. The defeat on Friday meant that RCB, despite consistently boasting one of the best squads on paper, have reached the final just once in the last nine seasons but while the blame has, understandably, fallen on the players for not backing up the big games, Gautam Gambhir reckoned that the problem lies elsewhere.
Speaking on ESPN Cricinfo’s “T20 Time Out”, the former KKR skipper, in a rant that has since broken the internet, laid into RCB captain Virat Kohli for not taking accountability. Since Kohli taking over as captain in 2013, RCB have reached the playoffs just thrice and Gambhir, while demanding change in leadership in the RCB franchise, urged Kohli to look in the mirror and take accountability.
“100% I would be changing the captain. Because the problem is about accountability. 8 years is a long time. Tell me any other captain who would have got 8 years and wouldn’t have won the title and still continued,” Gambhir said on ESPN Cricinfo’s T20 Time-Out.
“A captain needs to take accountability. I remember a season in 2016 or 2017 where they got bowled out for 49. We (KKR) once got a 100 inside the first 6 overs. And it’s not just this one year. I have nothing against Virat Kohli but somewhere down the line he needs to put his hand up and say ‘Yes, I am responsible, I am accountable.’
“Look at what has happened to Ravichandran Ashwin - two years of captaincy, he couldn’t deliver, and he was removed.”
Over the years, the Royal Challengers have replaced coaches, chopped and changed the support staff, even revamped the squad completely but have been skeptical to take the captaincy away from Kohli, whose position as leader has remained undisturbed and unquestioned for eight seasons. Gambhir noted that there shouldn’t be ‘different yardsticks for different people’ and claimed that even Rohit Sharma, the most successful captain in IPL history, would have been sacked by Mumbai had he not delivered a single trophy in 8 years.
“We talk about MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, but never about Kohli. Dhoni has won three titles; Rohit Sharma has won four titles - and that’s the reason why they’ve captained for such a long time. It’s because they delivered. I’m sure if Rohit Sharma hadn’t delivered for 8 years he would have been removed as well.
“There should not be different yardsticks for different people. The problem and the accountability starts from the top - not from the management, not from the support staff, from the leader. You’re the leader, when you get the credit, you should take the criticism as well.”
The defeat on Friday also marked the fourth straight season of RCB not reaching the IPL Final, with their last Grand Finale appearance coming back in 2016.