Virat Kohli and Royal Challengers Bangalore are almost synonymous with each other. The 34-year-old India great is the only player in the history of the tournament to have represented the same franchise since its inception in 2008; Kohli had also led the franchise for 9 seasons between 2013-2021 and even as he couldn’t lift the trophy with the side as skipper, Kohli produced some of the most incredible performances with the bat for the franchise.
On a number of occasions, Kohli has stated that RCB will be his only franchise in the league, but the star batter has now revealed that he had actually spoke to another franchise during the very initial years of the tournament in search for a top-order spot; during the first three seasons, Kohli largely batted at no.5 or 6 for the RCB. However, the franchise denied the chance to pick Kohli.
Interestingly enough, the said franchise then returned to Kohli ahead of the retentions in 2011 but Kohli, who was already an integral member of the Indian team by then, chose to stick with RCB who “backed him a lot.”
“It’s been amazing. Why I value this partnership and journey with RCB so much, is because in the first 3 years of the IPL, they backed me a lot. Even when the retentions happened, they said, ‘we want to retain you’. My only feedback to Ray Jennings at the time was ‘I want to bat in top-order. I bat at 3 for India, and I want to bat at 3’. And they said, ‘okay, you will bat at 3’. They showed faith in me at the time when I needed it. I was growing in my international career as well,” Kohli told Robin Uthappa during an interview for JioCinema.
“That is of more value for me. I won’t take names but another franchise who I spoke to at the time… they were not even keen enough to listen to me. I was playing lower down the order at the time (5-6). I was like, ‘if I could get the opportunity to bat in the top of the order somewhere else…’ The same franchise, because I had played for India and performed in 2011, before the retention, came to me and said, ‘can you please come to the auction?’ I said, ‘no chance. I will always be with the franchise that backs me’,” Kohli further said.
When Uthappa expressed his surprise at the franchise refusing a chance to take Kohli in, the batter said, “Yes, it was. And they denied it straightaway. I was like, fair enough.”
Kohli had stepped down as RCB captain in 2021 and even as he endured a forgettable season the next year, the legendary batter made a remarkable comeback across all formats in 2022. In the ongoing season, Kohli has smashed two 50+ scores for RCB so far in five matches.