Royal Challengers Bangalore endured a six-match losing streak in a forgettable IPL campaign, but captain Virat Kohli Saturday said he could only tell the players to “look into the mirror” and ask themselves if they were doing enough.
“I remember after the 6th game everyone got together and we looked at each other and nodded our heads and that was it. We are doing everything possible and literally there is nothing going right. Even in the games when we were up for it 80% of the game and we would just lose it in those two overs,” Kohli told Star Sports when asked how he kept his team-mates motivated in that tough phase.
“We just had one message to give to the team that we are committed 120% every ball every minute. It is up to the individuals to look into the mirror and ask I am doing enough,” he added.
Kohli, however, admitted that the team balance was not right “initially”.
“We always try to do our best. Sometimes, the balance of the team just does not set right in a tournament like IPL, for the team to fire. Someone who gets the balance right from game one they go on and dominate all the games someone like CSK or Mumbai or Delhi. They have a good balance which unfortunately we could not initially,” the India captain said.
Asked if RCB could have done differently at the start of the tournament, Kohli said, “I think it is always important to start well in IPL. We have seen that in the past. I think 2016 was a freakish season where we just played well and, in the end, did not qualify. But if you don’t start well your chances of qualifying becomes lesser and lesser.
“But if you collectively don’t win for 6 games which none of us had experienced before, and we spoke about it and then everyone just woke up. I think it gets a little more difficult to go through the play-offs. But having said that we brought in a few new people as well. So, for them to settle in the IPL was not going to be easy. If some people got going then things would have been different.”
Senior player and team-mate A B de Villiers said having some good players does not guarantee success on the field.
“The fact of the matter is tough to be a part of this tournament; it is very intense and it happens quickly. There are 8 world class cricket teams and any team can beat any team. We always come in as one of the favourites because we have some good players but that does not guarantee you success on the field,” de Villiers said.
“After the season when you look back, during the season you feel like you are doing many wrong things but when you look back there are tiny moments where we were couple of wins away from really being in a good position a week or so back and that is what it takes sometimes.”
Kohli and de Villiers have been together for over eight years exclusively. Asked if it’s turning out to be cricket’s biggest bromance story, Kohli said, “I think it might be in between there was Chris Lynn and Baz (New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum). But that was only for a couple of years. This has been 8 years now. Since 2011, so this has to be the biggest bromance story.”
Asked what two of them talked about on the field, Kohli said they don’t need to talk to each other as “it is pure simple connect and understanding” by looking into each other’s eyes.
“We don’t have to say anything. It’s trust. It’s pure expression of our abilities and we have fun doing that together. How quickly we got to understand each other’s game right from season one. I mean the way he plays, the way he thinks about the game. I thought about the game in the same manner,” said Kohli.
“So, when we talk about the game, about the importance of making the one into two. That comes naturally. It cannot be taught. We just clicked and how. The best one was he walks in and he would ask me what was going on on the pitch. Similarly, I would ask him what is happening and boom we go.”
“We need to understand the bigger cause which is to understand the team goals. We both understand it. There is an immediate intensity and we know the team needs us now,” de Villiers said.
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