Virat Kohli: I can never leave RCB

The India captain says it will be his dream to win the IPL with the RCB alongside team-mate AB de Villiers.

Virat Kohli (right) and AB de Villiers have played together for nine seasons.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

Virat Kohli has said the love and loyalty of fans will never let him leave Royal Challengers Bangalore till he plays the Indian Premier League.

During a live session on Instagram with former South African captain and RCB team-mate AB de Villiers, Kohli said: “It has been such an amazing journey [with RCB]. It is always going to be our dream, winning the IPL together. There is no scenario where I could think of leaving the team ever. You can feel emotional about the season not going well but till the time I am playing IPL, I am never leaving this team. The fans, their loyalty has been amazing.”

De Villiers too acknowledged the support of the club’s fans over the past nine years. Both have played for the club for a long time; Kohli has been with the RCB since 2008. “I never want to leave RCB but to do that I [have] got to keep scoring runs. I am not the captain you see,” he joked.

‘Break the norm’

Both recalled their early days in international cricket and their growth as cricketers and friends. Kohli said at times, the youngsters coming in have too much regard for the “system” and he wanted to see them break the norm. “I want to see youngsters coming in scoring 500-600 runs. I want people to break the norm. Sometimes I feel people have too much regard for the system in sport. When you break the shackles, you do something special.”

Kohli also acknowledged the contribution of Mark Boucher, Gary Kirsten and Duncan Fletcher early on in his international career. “Gary always gave me positive feedback. Boucher told me in 2008 to improve my game against the short ball. He had the vision. Then Fletcher, he had a keen eye for the game. So many people who have contributed [to my growth],” said Kohli.

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De Villiers picked the 119 at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, in 2015 as his best knock against India. Kohli picked the 119 he scored in Johannesburg Test in 2013. “I was always really motivated to win the [ODI] series after 2-2. I was incredibly motivated to do something special [in the final match],” de Villiers said.

They also picked their combined South Africa and India ODI team. It was: Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, M. S. Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dale Steyn, Jasprit Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada.

The two cricketers will auction their cricketing gears, including the bats with which they scored hundreds for RCB during an IPL match in 2016, to raise funds for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The items to be auctioned also include their respective gloves and shirts from that particular game against Gujarat Lions where both of them scored centuries.

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