Former West Indies captain Brian Lara said on Tuesday that he is “never going to point my finger at Virat Kohli” whatever be the circumstances, adding that had he been the franchise owner he would have asked the India skipper to continue in his role as Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper.
Kohli recently announced that he will step down as RCB skipper following the conclusion of the IPL 2021 season. During his nine-year reign as RCB captain, Kohli never tasted IPL success, with his side returning empty-handed after every edition, despite having some of the best batters, including South African AB de Villiers and top Australian white-ball specialist Glenn Maxwell in the ranks.
On Monday, RCB again failed at the business end of the tournament, losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by four wickets in the ‘Eliminator’.
“If I was the franchise owner, I would ask Kohli to continue as the skipper. Virat Kohli the player and Virat Kohli the captain are two different people. Such a high profile player and he is still ‘young’ and is willing to play under somebody else. He wants to remain with RCB and I would have asked him to not give up the captaincy,” Lara told cricket.com on Tuesday.
“I would give him the players he wants and focus on the next few years. It’s tough and I am never going to point my finger at Kohli who gives everything on the field. They could have played better cricket and finished at either No. 1 or two. Things might have been different.”
On the four-wicket loss to KKR, Lara said that the RCB stalwarts should have played out spinner Sunil Narine’s overs and gone after the seamers to ensure a better total.
“It was a tough loss. You won the toss and did what you wanted to. They (RCB) were 49 for no loss in five overs. Padikkal got out in the fifth over and then Kohli slowed down a bit, which I understand. If you go at almost 10 runs per over in the powerplay and then go around six in the middle overs, there’s nothing wrong about that but don’t lose so many wickets.
“Captain Kohli, (Glenn) Maxwell and ABD (de Villiers) got out to Narine. Even if you would have played him out, these three could have gone after the other bowlers. They didn’t do that and the tailenders were asked to do all the scoring at the end. The thinking was wrong. You don’t need 180 at Sharjah. I was disappointed with the final total they got. Too many cross-batted shots, they could have gone straight down the ground,” added Lara.