The love and loyalty of the fans will never let him leave Royal Challengers Bangalore till the time he is playing IPL, skipper Virat Kohli said on Friday (24th April).
RCB have reached the IPL final thrice but have not gone on to win the trophy.
During a live session on Instagram with former South African captain and RCB team-mate AB de Villiers, Kohli said winning the tournament remains the goal but he would not leave the team irrespective of the results.
"It has been such an amazing journey. 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," said the India skipper.
Responding to Kohli's feelings towards RCB, de Villiers too acknowledged the support of fans over the past nine years. Kohli, on the other hand, has been with RCB since 2008.
"Same for me. I never want to leave RCB but to do that I got to keep scoring runs. I am not the captain you see," said the South African in jest.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the "indefinite" suspension of the 13th IPL, which was supposed to start last month but Kohli said he is still hopeful of the cash-rich event happening at some stage.
"We have no clarity at this moment but I am optimistic that at some stage we will have something," he said.
Both Kohli and de Villiers also 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 wants 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 contributions 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.
De Villiers picked the 119 at Wankhede in the 2015 series decider 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 series after 2-2 . I was incredibly motivated to do something special," de Villiers said.
They also picked their combined South Africa and India ODI team. It included Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, MS Dhoni (captain), Yuvraj Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dale Steyn, Jasprit Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada.
Kohli, de Villiers to auction cricketing gear to raise funds for fight against COVID-19 pandemic
Kohli and de Villiers will auction their cricketing gears, including the bats with which they scored hundreds for Royal Challengers Bangalore during an IPL match in 2016, to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The items to be auctioned also include their respective gloves and shirts from that particular game where both of them had scored centuries to power RCB to a challenging 248 for three against Gujarat Lions.
RCB had won the match by 144 runs.
"We had a few nice knocks together. There is a particular one in 2016 IPL against Gujarat Lions. I got 129 and you also got 100 right at the end, that doesn't happen always when two batters get 100s. It is a special memory for me," de Villiers said.
"I was thinking how we can make a difference, that's why I told you to get hold of that bat from that game and I still got that shirt from that game, which I got you signed, I also signed my shirt. So I got my shirt and my bat, I gonna get hold of your bat, my bat, your gloves, my gloves. That's quite a big package.
"The plan is to get it on an online auction platform (bidorbuy.co.za). It could be a nice collector's item. We both can share a picture of that game. People can go and bid and all the proceeds can go for the COVID-19 cause both in India and South Africa, particularly, for the cause of getting meals on people's table. we can make it 50-50 and support the cause in memory of that day."
RCB skipper Kohli, who had scored 109 in that match, said he would give away anything for the cause.
"It sounds amazing. The fact that you want to share a part of it with India where you have a massive fan, I think it is quite special, it is an amazing gesture from you," he said.
"I don't think I will be able to score that many runs in a single season. I have kept most of the things from that season. For this cause I will give anything away."
The Indian captain said it is "surreal" what has been happening around the globe and felt people will be more human once the pandemic-induced crisis is over.
"I never thought I will see this happening in my life time. So many people are trapped, specially migrant and daily wagers are struggling. There is a silver lining, I mean it is good to see the human side coming up, there is no ego, there is no manipulation, so many people are helping out in this crisis situation," he said.
"We have to grateful that we are comfortable sitting, where so many others are struggling for food. Nothing hurts you more than seeing people struggling to get food on table.
"Whenever people come back, when players comeback, there will be lot more energy ... it will drastically change the enjoying part of things, pure love for everything will come up in the surface."
The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 2.5 million people around the globe, bringing all sporting activities to a standstill.