Bangalore: Just before the start of the previous IPL season, Gautam Gambhir, the former KKR captain, who led his side to two titles, had stated that Virat Kohli was lucky to be retained as captain by Royal Challengers Bangalore despite not winning the trophy over seven successive years at the helm.
Well, an eighth season has gone by with Kohli as captain and the scene hasn’t changed; neither has the situation. Newly-appointed Director of Cricket Operations for RCB, Mike Hesson, once coach of the New Zealand national team, and former Australian opener Simon Katich, in his first stint as head coach, categorically denied any such move in the course of a free-wheeling chat with select media at the UB Towers here yesterday.
“No, no, no,” was Hesson’s immediate reaction when asked if the RCB management, who have rung out almost the entire support of last season, had given any thought to changing the captain.
Kohli, it must be remembered, leads India in all three formats and the pressure on an Indian captain is enormous. A break from leadership duties thus needn’t necessarily be seen as a demotion.
Hesson did admit though that there is always room to learn. “Potentially, there is a learning from what he [Kohli] has done in the past. Maybe, he has learnt from stuff and will go about things differently. From what we have discussed with him so far, he is very much aligned with how we want to move forward and happy to take advice from our experience and how we see things,” said Hesson.
The Kiwi also added that neither he nor Katich would hesitate to point out any errors Kohli may make. “The key thing with any relationship — and Simon, Virat and myself have already been working together, and so far those relationships have been very good — is that as long as you’re aware that you’re coming from a good place, and you’re being honest with each other, and you choose the moment to do it as well…there’s a time and a place for everything, [then things will be fine]. The three of us have to be brutally honest with each other behind closed doors and around every decision,” said Hesson.
Getting the squad balance right is always the key and Katich, for his part, is all keyed up to do just that.
“It could be potentially before the auction as well, given the way the trade period works now,” said Katich of RCB’s plan for the mini-auction that’s ahead as also the big one to follow.