Virat Kohli was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the first time in 2008. Kohli has come a long way in his Indian Premier League career, from being a teenager to eventually leading the franchise. However, things did not always go as Kohli would have liked when he first joined the franchise.
Virat Kohli has 6283 runs at an average of 37.4 and a strike rate of close to 130, making him the highest run-scorer in IPL history. With a total of 973 runs in 2016, he holds the record for most runs in a season, and he has been captaining the team since the 2011 season, leading the franchise to two finals. After stepping down as captain after the last IPL, the 33-year-old will play as a pure batsman in the upcoming editions.
Virat Kohli on his early days at RCB
Kohli recalled an incident in the Champions League when the RCB coach and owner informed him that he would be the only player retained ahead of the mega auction and that he would be building a completely new squad. He went on to say that he wanted to bat third and that the franchises agreed, which turned out to be one of the best decisions he’d ever made. With legends like Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, and Ross Taylor in the side, Kohli had been playing in far too many positions in the batting order up until then.
“I remember we were playing the Champions League in South Africa and Ray Jennings and Siddharth Mallya approached me, said that they were looking to retain only me, and that they were looking to build a whole new squad around me. I said that’s great, and that’s the opportunity I am looking for. I told them very clearly there’s only one condition that I will bat at No.3 and nowhere else. They said fair enough. I knew I can do something special for the team. I had no problem accepting the responsibility,” Kohli said.
He also admitted that his IPL performances in his first three years weren’t up to par, and he expressed his desire to lead the franchise to a better position.
“The first three years in the IPL, I always had the belief that I could do something special. I felt like the composition of the team, while they were amazing players, and rightly so in the right positions, I was not able to play in the position that was my strength”, Kohli said.
“For the first 3 years, it was on and off, a performance here and a performance there. It was not as free-flowing and consistent as I would have liked it to be. I was playing No.3 for India, and I was not getting to do it for RCB in the IPL. It was a bit of a strange situation for me, because I felt like I could replicate my India performances here and maybe better,” he added.