Reports of Royal Challengers Bangalore sacking Virat Kohli as captain raise a storm

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RCB's Virat Kohli. Image: BCCI.

IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore found themselves in the spotlight on Sunday with reports that they are about to sack Virat Kohli as captain for the next season.

According to reports in India, the RCB management is likely to name retired South Africa international AB de Villiers as skipper following the failure of Kohli to win silverware. Kohli is the second-highest run scorer in IPL history (4948 runs) but under his captaincy since 2013, the team has made it to one final while also finishing last, second last and third last.

RCB have removed Daniel Vettori as coach and have brought in Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra in a new-look coaching structure. Fielding coach Trent Woodhill and bowling coach Andrew McDonald have also been sacked. Therefore, news of Kohli being sacked and the RCB making a fresh start gained credence.

However, the RCB management issued a denial to an Indian publication – India Today – stating: “We can clarify that the news is incorrect and Virat Kohli is very much the captain of RCB for the next season as well.”

At the international level as well, Kohli is enjoying a great time as a batsman but his captaincy has not been up to desired levels. Kohli’s Indian team has failed to cross the finish line in Tests and ODIs. India imploded in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, lost the Test series in South Africa earlier in the year and have now lost the Pataudi Trophy in England after looking more than capable of winning some or all of the them.

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Former India pacer Ashish Nehra named RCB coach alongside Gary Kirsten

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Ashish Nehra has been named as a coach for Royal Challengers Bangalore

Former India bowler Ashish Nehra has been confirmed as Royal Challengers Bangalore coach and will part of the ‘coaching leadership team’.

Nehra, 39, is no stranger to the set-up, having been appointed bowling coach last season and will share duties alongside Gary Kirsten.

“I had the privilege to join the coaching team of RCB last season and feel very passionately about the team. I want to thank the team management for considering me in a leadership position with the franchise and look forward to successful seasons ahead,” Nehra said in a statement after the announcement on Wednesday.

The ex-pacer brings plenty of experience to the role after playing in all three formats in a career spanning 18 years.

Royal Challengers Bangalore chairman Sanjeev Churiwala was delighted to have Nehra on board. “We are very happy to have Nehra join RCB as part of the coaching leadership team. Ashish and Gary will partner the captain to help the team deliver better performance,” he said.

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South African star AB de Villiers to carry on playing in the IPL

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Set to keep on playing: AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers has confirmed he will continue playing in the IPL for a ‘few years’ following his retirement from international cricket.

The 34-year-old will no longer don the South Africa colours after calling it quits in May after the Test series against Australia.

Two months on from that announcement, de Villiers revealed he has no plans to turn his back on T20 cricket and wishes to play on for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“I will keep on playing IPL for a few years, and I would like to play for the Titans, and help some of the youngsters. But there are no set plans. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by iol.co.za.

“Bangalore is a special place, a second home, really. I played my 100th Test there, and obviously RCB is a massive part of my life. India as a country has taken me in, and it’s hard to explain what that feels like. I just play cricket.”

Happy memories: De Villiers was a key player for South Africa

Happy memories: De Villiers was a key player for South Africa

With the World Cup less than a year away, de Villiers had a chance to end his career with glory having experienced disappointment in three editions. But with a CV that sees him as the fourth-highest scorer for South Africa, 22 Test centuries and holding the record in ODI cricket for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls), he said his career shouldn’t be measured on World Cup glory alone.

“For a long time, the World Cup was a massive goal. But, in the last few years, I have realised that it isn’t realistic to measure yourself purely on what you achieve in that tournament. That will not be the be-all and end-all of my career,” de Villiers said.

“Yes, I would have loved to win it, but I have great memories from World Cups. The 2007 tournament — my first — was very special. We fell short against Australia, when we tried to play too much cricket too soon, but that shift in mentality probably helped us to go over there and win the Test series we then won over there.

“Personally, I scored my first ODI century in that 2007 tournament, and I loved the whole experience of being in the Caribbean.

“The same goes for the others, in 2011 and in 2015. India has always been close to my heart, because of the passion for cricket, and then obviously 2015 was an amazing game. We fell on the wrong side of it, but we gave it everything,” he explained.

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