Virat Kohli may have stepped down as the skipper of the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) however, the run-machine continues to be a significant part of the side and has said that the lucrative league had a influence and impact in his cricketing career.
During the ongoing IPL season, Kohli spoke about IPL’s impact on his life, his connect with Bengaluru city to his loyalty towards RCB during the Inside RCB show on Star Sports.
On IPL’s impact on his life, Kohli said on RCB’s franchisee show on Star Sports: “Like so many other people, IPL has had a big influence and impact in my life. I think outside of playing for India (and having the opportunity to play for India), IPL gave me the platform to show my capabilities, compete against the best in the world and share knowledge with them. I think that was the most important thing that added a different dimension to my understanding of the game.”
“This helped me move ahead in a very progressive manner. I was picking brains of people that probably I wouldn’t have come across otherwise on things like how to play in different conditions and what mind-set they have. You know, people have different ways to succeed so it can’t be just one template,” he added,
The former RCB skipper further said: “So I used to be so excited and grateful for the opportunity to pick their brains and just learn from them day in and day out and that’s for me has been the standout feature of IPL.”
Speaking on his connection with Bengaluru city, Kohli said: “Bengaluru has a very special place in my heart. It’s always had a strong impact in my life, starting from the time when we used to come for the Under-14, Under-15 camps at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and used to be there for two and a half months at a stretch. So we used to explore quite a bit of what used to be Bangalore even then.”
“But, I think since IPL happened, and me playing for RCB for so many years, and the reason I say I will play here till the last day of me playing the IPL is because I just cannot see myself being in any other environment. So the city has a very different feel than any other place in India. It is just when you arrive, when you land at the airport and you are driving to the hotel, it’s just feel like you’ve come home. That’s a very difficult feeling to get in a city that you haven’t been born and grown up in and you just go there for a period in the year,” he added.
Further speaking on his connection with the city, Kohli expressed: “I have had a very strong connection with Bengaluru, very organic connection with the city. UV city was the spot for us back in the day. If you want to eat out Shiro’s was the place that I went to the most in Bengaluru.”
Further commenting on his loyalty towards RCB (even though he still hasn’t won a trophy for them in the IPL), Kohli said: “To be very honest I thought about it. Yes, I won’t shy away from it and I have been approached many times as well to come into the auction somehow, put my name there and stuff. And then I thought about it, I was like at the end of the day everyone has X numbers of years that they live and then you die and life moves on. There would have been many great people who won trophies but no one addresses you like that.”
“No one addresses you in the room like ‘Oh he’s an IPL champion or he’s a World Cup champion. It’s like if you are a good person, people like you, if you’re a bad guy, they just stay away from you and eventually that’s what life is all about. For me the understanding that the loyalty with RCB like how I follow my life is far greater for me than the fact that five people in the room will say Oh finally you win the IPL with whoever xyz. You feel good for five minutes but then sixth minute you could be miserable with some other issues in the life. So it is not the end of the world for me. What this franchise has given me in terms of opportunities in the first three years and believed in me that is the most special thing because as I said there are many teams who had the opportunity, but they didn’t back me, they didn’t believe in me.”
Kohli further added: “So now when I am successful and I should fall to the opinion of people saying ‘but’ the IPL. This was the case with me till 2018 England tour happened. For four years of my life I was doing well everywhere in the world, the only thing was ‘but England’. So there are always going to be ‘but’, you literally can’t live your life like that and I just carry out doing my own things and I actually honestly don’t even bother about a third person beyond myself and Anushka discussing things and just being true to ourselves and that’s it.”
“For me nothing else or no one else’s opinion matters at all,” he signed off.