A beleaguered Virat Kohli said he has ran out of excuses after his Royal Challengers Bangalore crashed to a record-equalling sixth straight defeat in the Indian Premier League on Sunday even as suggestions that he take a break grow by the day.
Bangalore went down to Delhi Capitals by four wickets in front of their home crowd after the visiting team chased down the target of 150 with seven balls to spare. Kohli made 41 runs in a losing knock.
The latest setback means Bangalore equalled Delhi Daredevils mark, set in 2013, of six defeats to open an IPL campaign.
Kohli’s side, which has never won an IPL title, are now bottom of the eight-team league and the captain has become increasingly frustrated at his side’s performances.
“We need to grab those chances, can’t give excuses every day. We weren’t good on the day again. That’s the whole story of RCB this season,” Kohli said.
The downward spiral of Bangalore has coincided with the continued pressure on the bankrupt and now former owner Vijay Mallya, once known as the “King of good times”.
“When the mind is cluttered, you wouldn’t be able to focus on the chances that come your way,” Kohli said. “Clarity of mind is very important in the game especially if you want to convert the half chances and pull the game back.”
Kohli cited the example of Capitals counterpart Shreyas Iyer, who was dropped on four as Delhi chased down Bangalore’s total of 149-8.
“Shreyas got 67, he was dropped ... you never know, you can come back in the game at any time,” Kohli said.
Iyer was dropped by wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel early into his knock after edging a delivery from Tim Southee. The batsman also got another reprieve on 42.
Bangalore have dropped 15 catches this season and Kohli believes it is difficult to control things beyond a point.
“There’s nothing more you can tell the team. We’ve asked the boys to take responsibility. It hasn’t happened so far, and that’s the reality,” he said. “Personally, I am not trying to control anything. After a while, it’s about the skill. The key is to relax, whatever’s in front of us. We want to enjoy as a team, otherwise we won’t be able to play any good cricket.”
Meanwhile pressure is mounting on Kohli, captain of the India team that tops the Test rankings, to deliver in the world’s most popular T20 league. But former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested that Kohli be rested before the upcoming 50-over World Cup starting in May.
“If India are smart they rest @imVkohli now for the World Cup ... Give him some time off before the big event,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir said the India batting great has “loads to learn” as a leader.
“While Virat Kohli the batsman is an absolute master, Virat Kohli the captain is an apprentice,” Gambhir wrote in his column in The Times of India newspaper. “He has loads to learn. Rather than blaming the bowlers he should take the blame on himself.”