Exclusive: Kohli's decision to quit RCB captaincy surprising but legitimate, says Brian Lara

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20 Sep 2021 | 03:39 AM
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Exclusive: Kohli's decision to quit RCB captaincy surprising but legitimate, says Brian Lara

The West Indies great felt that Kohli's style does not make him a bad example as a leader

Virat Kohli's decision to step down as Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) captain at the end of IPL 2021 is legitimate and will allow him to offer more as a player, feels West Indies batting great Brian Lara. Kohli on Sunday announced his decision to step down from his role after leading the side for ten years.

"First of all, he doesn't leave you guessing. I think he gives good enough reasons," Lara said on Cricket.com’s show Man vs Machine. "Virat Kohli plays the game with a commitment more than any other player I know. Either it is Tests, ODI or T20s. At 32, he is still young. But with the intensity and commitment Kohli has, he made it very clear that he wants to keep playing all three formats. I was surprised, but his explanation was legitimate and you have wish him well. At 32, he has lot more years left as a player."

Lara, who captained West Indies in 124 ODIs and 47 Tests, felt that Kohli's aggressive style of captaincy does not make him a bad leader and is unfair to compare him with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"People always compare Virat Kohli to MS Dhoni - Mr. Cool. He is not Mr. Cool, he wears his heart on his sleeve and in your face. There's nothing wrong with that kind of leadership. Some may not like it, but he is not a bad example as a leader," Lara said.

"I think he is a leader by example. I feel he is not someone to walk around the dressing room, put a hand around every single player's shoulder. What is very evident is that he gives his all and he expects everyone else to do the same. Off the field, he is disciplined, the fitness is there," he said.


Despite giving up captaincy, RCB still has a lot to gain from Kohli in terms of his brand value as a franchise.

"This is franchise cricket and Virat Kohli is by himself is a commodity. Captaincy, he may not be the most successful, but there are a lot of other things in the background that are going well," Lara said.

With questions hanging around Kohli's ODI captaincy following his decision to step down after T20 World Cup, Lara felt that it is up to the BCCI to have discussions with him regarding his future.

"I think he would lead India. But he is still hungry and he would like lead RCB and India in T20I World Cup to the trophies. He clearly enjoys leading the side and it's no different when it comes to Tests and ODIs. I think BCCI and Kohli will have discussions about his captaincy and his future as a player as well."

Kohli, who is the leading scorer in the IPL with 6,076 runs, is set to play his 200th game for RCB when his team takes on Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.

"He is very strong mentally and there is a lot of attention on him right now. He will convert it into a great batting performance," Lara predicted.

Lara also felt KKR, who are second from the bottom in the table, are lacking proper guidance on the sidelines despite being a talented side.

"KKR are a talented side, but there is someone on the sidelines in a black cap giving information and I don't know what information it is. The think tank of the team hasn't gotten it right this time. If that's gonna continue, then they are in for more trouble," he said.

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