A year after he was seen in videos mouthing “Ee saala cup namade” (This year the cup is ours) Virat Kohli disowned the tagline saying the franchise had “zero involvement” in it. Last year, videos of which are still accessible on YouTube, Kohli, Brendon McCullum, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, and others can be seen saying that line.
It wasn’t known who coined it but it had gone to become a quasi-anthem among RCB fans and eventually the players too had started using it as seen in the videos.
Distancing himself and the team from the tagline was perhaps Kohli’s way to knock off pressure by talking down chances of victory one day before the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.
“The talk last year was ee sala cup namde, which we have nothing to do with. We literally had zero involvement but somehow it has become the RCB tagline. Look, we have to play good cricket. There is no rocket science here and it does not really matter if the football team had won or kabaddi team had won. This is a different sport. You would like to start the tournament thinking that we have the chance to win the tournament. But you have to realistic that there are 7 other teams, and you have to be respectful of their talent and skills. We will be brave, we will go out there and take on teams and situations but we are not going to live in a paradise world.
“In 2016, nobody thought but we entered the final, there is no set formula and you have to play good cricket to eventually reach that stage and that is what we are looking forward to,” Kohli said when asked that since Bangalore has won tournaments in kabbadi, badminton, and football, would it be an icing on cake if a Bangalore team wins the IPL this year.
A few days after Gautam Gambhir had said that Kohli was lucky to be the captain of RCB despite so many failures, Kohli said he “doesn’t really care whether I am judged on this or not”. He said he knows there are lots of critics outside but that while he would like to win the IPL, but there is “no real parameter on which you have to tick all the boxes”.
Looking back the previous IPL campaigns, Kohli said that he is not offering any excuses and feels that they needed “better decision making”.
“Obviously, I want to play and win IPL. But I don’t really care whether I am judged on this or not. There is no real parameter on which you have to tick all the boxes. I try to win all the time, win all the possible titles, sometimes it just does not happen. We have to be practical on why we have not won, basically it boiled down to bad decision during pressure situations. I know people outside talk a lot about this and I have given a responsibility here and given a chance I would like to win the IPL like any other captain for my team. But no excuses for not winning the IPL, only acceptance of the fact that we have not won. The fact that we have played six semifinals and ahead is a testimony to the fact that we are a team always in contention. We need better decision making,” Kohli said on the eve of the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.
Gambhir had called Kohli “lucky” to continue being the captain and stated his reasons for his view. “I don’t see him as a shrewd captain. I don’t see him as a tactful captain (tactician). And he hasn’t won the IPL. So ultimately, a captain is only as good as his record,” Gambhir said on Star Sports. He has been a part of RCB, and captaining RCB for the last seven to eight years, and he has been very lucky and should be thanking the franchise that they stuck with him. Because not many captains have got such a long rope where they haven’t won a tournament. There are people who have won the trophy three times. MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage,” Gambhir said.
In the past, Kohli had talked about how the IPL losses had matured him as a captain. In particular, he was then talking about the IPL 2013.
“Most certainly my captaincy has (matured) because previously if we lose – losing certainly hurts, I hate losing, every competitive person hates losing – and it should hurt but it should not annoy you or drift you away from what you have to do on the field and take your focus away. That’s very important and it’s a job of coach and captain primarily to keep the team together and I now understand that. Because if you show panic at the top post then the guys are obviously gonna scatter around and not play as a unit,” he had said in 2014.