'They were looking to retain only me in 2011' - Virat Kohli recalls early days with RCB

Kohli is the leading run-scorer in the IPL, with 6283 runs in 207 games.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

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Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli revealed that the RCB franchise was looking to retain just him ahead of the IPL auctions in 2011. Kohli was picked up by the RCB in the inaugural edition after his impressive stint in the title-winning U19 World Cup for India and ever since that, he has managed to play 207 games for the franchise. He was retained ahead of the upcoming IPL 2022 mega auction as well by RCB alongside Glenn Maxwell and Mohammad Siraj.

Kohli is the all-time highest run-scorer in IPL history with 6283 runs at an average of 37.4 and at a strike rate of close to 130. He holds the record for the most runs in a season with a 973-run tally in 2016 and he has been captaining the side since the 2011 edition with the franchise reaching two finals under his leadership. The 33-year-old stepped down from captaincy after the last IPL and he will be playing as a pure batter in the coming editions.

They were looking to build a whole new squad around me: Virat Kohli

Kohli recalled the instance in the Champions League when RCB coach and the owner had informed about retaining just him ahead of the mega auction and noted about building a completely new squad. He added that he wanted to bat at No. 3 and the franchises agreed to it, which would turn out to be one of the best decisions. Until then, Kohli had been playing in far too many positions in the batting order with legends like Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Ross Taylor in the side.

“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 told on RCB podcast.

He also noted his IPL performances weren’t up to the mark in his first three years and revealed his aspirations to take the franchise to a better position. Kohli is by far the best Indian No.3 batter in ODIs and T20Is and RCB have managed to retain the greatest matchwinner they have ever had.

“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.”

“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.