With the Indian Premier League (IPL) less than a week away, passionate fans of the game and more specifically, the league, now have some serious shade thrown by former captain of the Indian cricket team at the current Indian skipper, to discuss and have quarrels over.
“I don't see him as a shoot captain or a tactful captain. And he hasn't won the IPL,” said the former Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain on the show.
“Ultimately a captain is only as good as his record till.”
Ever since the league came into existence in 2008, Virat Kohli has been a part of the RCB family. Signed under what was known as a 'Youth Contract' for a mere $30,000, Kohli slowly worked his way up the success ladder with the franchise, year by year.
After being the only player to be retained by the team before the 2011 season began, Kohli was promoted to the role of vice-captain and even captained the squad on a couple of occasions when former Kiwi skipper Daniel Vettori went down with an injury.
Following his success with the Indian cricket team, as he became one of the more recognised men of the game, for his exceptional batting, charged-up attitude and the knack to take challenges head on, Kohli was named the permanent captain of the RCB roster after Vettori bid adieu to the format.
However, what Gambhir pointed out about Kohli's performance when it comes to IPL, has a lot of sense in it. There's no doubting the man's contribution towards Team India's ascension in international cricket. Under Kohli's captaincy, India has been great but the 30-year-old has failed to provide similar output for his Bangalore team.
Gambhir also said: “There are people who have won the trophy three times - MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. So I think he has a long way to go. You cannot compare him to someone like Rohit or Dhoni at this stage...”
While players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have had the privilege to host the IPL trophy in their cities for three seasons each and even Gambhir lifting the cup in 2012 and 2014, Kohli hasn't even had the opportunity to get a whiff of it.
Getting eliminated in the league stages in most of the seasons, Kohli and the RCB gang has made it to the IPL Final thrice, only to be put down by Hyderabad Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings and SunRisers Hyderabad in the years 2009, 2011 and 2016, respectively.
According to Gambhir, Kohli should thank the decision-makers of the Royal Challengers franchise for continuing to have faith in him and letting him be the captain despite the below-average results simply because of the fact that not a lot of other players have enjoyed such trust and have been dethroned from captaincy for far less.
Gautam Gambhir's final season with the Delhi Daredevils comes to mind keeping things in similar context when after a bad start to the season, his duty as the leader of the team was taken away by the team-owners and given to a rookie like Shreyas Iyer.
It's sad but it's true.