IPL 2021: KKR vs RCB – Virat Kohli's opportunity to do the talking with the bat
In light of recent criticism and captaincy relinquishment, Virat Kohli will try to recover his best form during the second leg of IPL 2021
Virat Kohli is no stranger to being in the spotlight and being amidst the headlines, both positive and negative. One could even stretch out a limb and suggest that he loves being in that zone. That is where he thrives and enjoys his game the most. On a list of things about his career that he cherishes the most, proving his detractors wrong time and time again might just rank second to the 2011 World Cup win.
As Royal Challengers Bangalore prepare to begin their second leg of IPL 2021 with a fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi, Kohli will be relishing being in that zone once again. Because a lot has been said about him, rather unfairly, in the nation over the past few days.
It began with the 32-year-old deciding to relinquish the T20 captaincy of the Indian national team following the T20 World Cup this year. Kohli has been going through a lean patch of form over the last couple of years and the centuries have dried up. That along with the fact that he isn't getting any younger and is still passionate and committed to all three formats of the game implies that he has to focus on managing his workload better.
"Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all 3 formats and captaining regularly for last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian Team in Test and ODI cricket. I have given everything to the Team during my time as T20 Captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 Team as a batsman moving forward," Kohli announced via his social media channels.
What should've been a simple change of guard, an initiative coming from one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket soon became a feeder for controversy and bizarre stories. The rumour-mill that usually takes centre-stage in moments like these continued to churn out fake accounts of how Virat Kohli had lost the dressing room, how he had been sacked by the team management instead, how MS Dhoni's appointment as mentor for the T20 World Cup was in conflict to his leadership and so on and so forth.
As the cricket world celebrated the return of the IPL with the fixture between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, it got rocked by another shocking announcement from Virat Kohli. This time, he made it clear that he'll give up the leadership duties of his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore after this season. A mega-auction will be held before IPL 2022 and Kohli along with the team saw that as the opportunity to shuffle things around.
With so much buzz surrounding him and his form with the bat, the second leg of IPL 2021 now presents itself as the perfect window for Virat Kohli to get his bat to speak again. He had scored just one half-century and had an average of 33 in the first half of the tournament, which is considerably lower than his IPL average of around 38.
Virat Kohli must now take to the field and do what he has done so well so many times before: answer his critics. The next few weeks in the IPL will be crucial to regaining his best form with the bat and with the T20 World Cup soon to follow, he will be smacking his lips at that opportunity. As the pressure continues to rise around him, not only does he fancy delivering yet another 'I told you so' to his detractors, he would also love the idea of signing off as captain of RCB as well as the Indian T20 side after delivering both the first IPL in the franchise's history and the first World Cup for India in a decade.
Tonight's fixture against KKR is the first step in a long road to recovery for Virat Kohli and his genius.