Royal Challengers Bangalore head coach Simon Katich rated Virat Kohli's captaincy at IPL 2020 highly, saying he is fortunate to have worked with a 'highly professional' captain who is extremely invested in the group. The former Australia opener said a lot of credit for RCB's fighting spirit in the season in the UAE should go to their captain.
Royal Challengers Bangalore ended their 3-year wait for a spot in the play-offs as Virat Kohli's men reached the knockout stages of IPL 2020. However, with their form tapering off towards the business end of the tournament, RCB were knocked out after their 5th straight loss -- the last one coming in the all-important Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Speaking to the press on Friday, Simon Katich said Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma spent a lot of time socializing with the young group, especially at a time when players had to spend close to 11 weeks away from their families in bio-bubbles in the UAE.
Even as calls for removing Virat Kohli as captain of RCB after 8 title-less years have come after RCB's exit, Simon Katich said Virat Kohli's presence and the manner in which he leads the side helps the Bangalore franchise quite a lot.
"We are very fortunate to have spent these last 11 weeks, for the first time working with him. What we have seen is someone who is highly professional, someone that is very very well respected by the group. Not just for what he does on the field but for the time he spends around the group. Both he and his wife Anushka spend a lot of time around the group and the team room, and socialising with everyone," Simon Katich said.
"The other thing we saw which is very visible on the field is that we have got a leader who, no matter what the game situation is, inspires the other 10 guys to follow him and stay in the contest.
"One thing we are proud of this group throughout the season is we fought hard and hung in there right till the end. Even last night, when it looked like, we didn't have enough runs, we fought right till the end. We are very proud of it and Virat can take a lot of credit for that."
Time Devdutt spent with Virat invaluable to his growth: Katich
Simon Katich heaped rich praise on Virat Kohli's keenness to work with younger players, especially with Devdutt Padikkal. Before the start of the season, the RCB support staff paired a senior player with a youngster as part of their 'mentorship programme' and the RCB captain was paired with the young opener from Karnataka.
"That's the side a lot of people don't see about Virat. What we saw is someone that is very invested in this group, spending a lot of time with the younger players, particularly, we paired him up with young Padikkal as the mentor and we saw the growth in him throughout the tournament. Having spent the time speaking and batting with Virat Kohli is invaluable for his growth," Katich said.
Earlier in the day, former India opener and 2-time IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir said Virat Kohli should be held accountable for RCB's struggles to win the elusive trophy. Gambhir pointed out that not man are fortunate to get 8 year's time as captain of an IPL franchise despite not managing to win a single title.
"The problem and the accountability starts from the top, not from the management nor the support staff, but from the leader. You're the leader, you're the captain. When you get the credit, you should take the criticism as well," Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.