Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli today remembered former franchise director Vijay Mallya for picking him in the team and providing an opportunity to rub shoulders with the world’s best players.
“My association with RCB has been special as it has been exciting from the first season. I was chosen to play for RCB by Mr Mallya. I have learnt so much and getting to play with the world’s best players. I am welcomed here warmly, I love this franchise, the city, fans, deep connection,” he told reporters on the eve of his team’s face-off with Sunrisers Hyderabad at Chinnaswamy stadium here.
Mallya, who has defaulted in loans in excess of Rs 9000 crore, is facing probe by various investigative agencies. The 60-year-old bought RCB in 2008 but the popular franchise has not been able to win a single Indian Premier League title in eight attempts.
Mallya had resigned from the post of Director of Royal Challengers Sports Private Limited (RCSPL) before anointing United Spirits Limited President and Chief Marketing Officer Amrit Thomas as the new chairman of RCB.
Replying to a query, Kohli said even though the team has the feelings of not lifting the title for he last eight seasons, the team takes pride in being among the top three teams.
“There is always a feeling that we haven’t been able to lift the title having been runners-up twice. That is one hurdle we haven’t been able to cross despite wanting to, but as a team, we have been among top three,” he said.
Kohli said he wouldn’t comment about their best chance of lifting the title this season, but their number one priority is not to depend on any other team to reach the play-offs stage.
“I wouldn’t like to comment. Too long a tournament to think of the winning the title. We would like to be in a position to reach the play-offs first on our own effort and not depend on other teams, run rate, etc. Our number one priority is not to depend on any other team to reach the play-offs stage,” he said.
On Mitchel Starc’s absence, Kohli said the team would miss the Aussie pacer, but they have Shane Watson who is economical as he thinks like a batsman, and also Harshal Patel, Adam Milne to form a good bowling attack.
“We will miss Starc, but we got Watson, who is very economical in bowling. An all-rounder like him can think like a batsman and bowl accordingly. We also got Harshal Patel, Adam Milne who is clocking 150, and Stuart Binny. We have a wonderful mix but everyone has to play their roles and work to potential,” he said.