‘100 percent’ Time for RCB to Change Captains, Says Gautam Gambhir
RCB have managed to make the playoffs only thrice since Kohli took over captaincy in 2013.
KKR’s title winning captain and Virat Kohli’s teammate from the 2011 ODI World Cup campaign for India, Gautam Gambhir believes that the Royal Challengers Bangalore need a change in leadership.
According to Gambhir, Kohli has to take responsibility for RCB’s failure to win the IPL. RCB have managed to make the playoffs only thrice since Kohli took over captaincy in 2013.
RCB’s latest appearance in the knockout stages of the IPL saw them surrender in rather tame fashion against David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in Abu Dhabi.
When asked if he would change the captaincy if he was in charge of the franchise, Gambhir said, on ESPNcricinfo's show T20 Time Out, "100%, because the problem is about accountability. Eight years into the tournament [without a trophy], eight years is a long time. Tell me any other captain… forget about captain, tell me any other player who would have got eight years and wouldn't have won the title and would have still continued with it. So it has to be accountability. A captain needs to take accountability.
"It's not only about one year, it's not only about this. 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'.
"Eight years is a long, long time. Look at what happened to R Ashwin. Two years of captaincy [for the Kings XI Punjab], he couldn't deliver and he was removed. We talk about MS Dhoni, we talk about Rohit Sharma, we talk about Virat Kohli... not at all. Dhoni has won three [IPL] titles, Rohit Sharma has won four titles, and that's the reason they've captained for such a long time because they've delivered. I'm sure if Rohit Sharma wouldn't have delivered for eight 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 nor the support staff, but from the leader. You're the leader, you're the captain. When you get the credit, you should take the criticism as well.
"You can keep saying 'we qualified for the playoffs and we deserved to qualify for the playoffs', absolutely not. RCB actually never deserved to qualify for the playoffs. If you see the last four or five games, and even that one Super Over against Mumbai Indians, they were very fortunate that Navdeep Saini bowled that over brilliantly. Otherwise they didn't have a great season. From the batting point of view and the bowling.
"Eight years is a long time. It's not that Kohli isn't experienced. He captains India, he captains whichever team he plays for, but you've got to give results, you've got to deliver. Sport is all about delivering."
The former opener further added that Kohli’s decision to open the innings was ill-timed and that the change should have been tried out well before the playoffs.
"There was so much talk about Virat Kohli opening the batting, if you wanted to open the batting, you should have done that right from the start of the tournament," Gambhir said.
"And then they should have had a squad, probably if Virat wanted to open, they should have picked a middle-order batter in the auction. But again it was all about Virat and AB [de Villiers]."
Gambhir also said he felt for the support staff of the franchise, which has changed over the years, while the captain has remained the same. Gambhir said it was "very difficult" for people like Simon Katich and Mike Hesson because if the coaches or directors of the team were "blunt" and asked for the captain to be removed, "they'll be the first ones to be removed".
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