Ups or downs, forever I will be with Bangalore, asserts Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has been playing for RCB since the start of IPL in 2008. Photo: BCCI/IPL

Ups or downs, forever I will be with Bangalore, asserts Virat Kohli

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Virat Kohli, who has not been in the best of batting form in the ongoing IPL, has opened up about the strong connection and loyalty with his team – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

On Star SportsInside RCB show, Kohli spoke about RCB, the bond he shares with the city of Bengaluru and how he won’t care for the opinions of the critics.

Also read: Kohli back in form

Kohli has played for only one franchise in 15 years of IPL, and that is RCB. And he has again reiterated that he will forever be an RCB cricketer till he retires from the IPL.

“What this franchise (RCB) 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,” the 33-year-old, who quit as RCB captain last year, said.

The former India captain revealed that he was approached many times to put himself in the IPL players auction but he did not as he wanted to play for only RCB despite not winning an IPL trophy.

Also read: Kohli collects 2 golden ducks in a row

He explained, “I have been approached many times as well to come into the (IPL) auction somehow, put my name there. And then I thought about it, I was like at the end of the day everyone has X number 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.”

Virat Kohli has played more than 200 IPL matches. Photo: BCCI/IPL

‘Won’t bother about third person’

On his loyalty with RCB, he said, “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 the sixth minute you could be miserable with some other issues in your life. So it is not the end of the world for me.

Also read: Exclusive interview with Irfan on Umran

“So now when I am successful and I shouldn’t fall to the opinion of people saying ‘but’ the IPL. This was the case with me till the 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 (wife) Anushka (Sharma) discussing things. For me nothing else or no one else’s opinion matters at all.”

This poster ‘RCBian forever’ is apt for Virat Kohli. Photo: BCCI/IPL

IPL’s influence

Kohli, who has played more than 200 IPL matches and scored over 6,000 runs so far, said the Twenty20 league had a “big influence” on his life. “Like so many other people, IPL has had a big influence and impact on my life. I think outside of playing 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 mindset they have. You know, people have different ways to succeed so it can’t be just one template. 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,” he added.

Fans love Virat Kohli. Photo: BCCI/IPL

Bangalore’s impact on Kohli

On his connection with the city of Bengaluru, Kohli said, “Bengaluru has a very special place in my heart. It has always had a strong impact on 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-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… I have had a very strong connection with Bengaluru, very organic connection with the city.”

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