Gautam Gambhir shocked at long rope given to Virat Kohli
Asked if Kohli should be removed from RCB's captaincy, Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo, "100 per cent, because the problem is about accountability"
Former India opener and two-time IPL champion skipper Gautam Gambhir feels Virat Kohli's non-performance as Royal Challengers Bangalore captain should lead to his removal from the hot seat as it is now a question of accountability. Known for his straight-talking, the hero of India's two World title triumphs made it clear that Kohli's name as a leader shouldn't be taken alongside the likes of MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma, who are IPL's most successful captains.
Asked if Kohli should be removed from RCB's captaincy, Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo, "100 per cent, because the problem is about accountability. Eight years into the tournament [without a trophy], eight years is a long time. "Tell me any other captain...forget about a captain, tell me any other player who would have got eight years and wouldn't have won the title and would have still continued with it. So it has to be accountability," Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, said.
Gambhir has been a staunch critic of Kohli's IPL leadership over the years but he insisted that there is nothing personal. "...but somewhere down the line, he needs to put his hand up and say, 'yes, I am responsible. I am accountable'." Gambhir then cited the example of Kings XI Punjab, who didn't show patience with Ravichandran Ashwin after the veteran off-spinner failed to deliver as captain for just two seasons.
"Eight years is a long, long time. Look at what happened to R Ashwin. Two years of captaincy [for the Kings XI Punjab], he couldn't deliver and he was removed." For someone like Rohit, who is on the cusp of his fifth title, a long stint as Mumbai Indians captain has been only possible because he has delivered, said Gambhir. "We talk about Dhoni, we talk about Rohit, we talk about Kohli...not at all. Dhoni has won three [IPL] titles, Rohit has won four titles, and that's the reason they've captained for such a long time because they've delivered. I'm sure if Rohit wouldn't have delivered for eight years, he would have been removed as well."
He even went to the extent of saying that RCB did not deserve to qualify for the play-offs after four successive losses. "You can keep saying 'we qualified for the play-offs and we deserved to qualify for the play-offs', absolutely not. RCB actually never deserved to qualify for the play-offs."
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