Virat Kohli: No cap on matches for World Cup-bound players

Updated: Mar 17, 2019, 13:21 IST | Satish Viswanathan

India skipper Virat Kohli rules out having game restrictions during IPL, says cricketers will be smart as they don't want to miss out on mega event

Virat Kohli: No cap on matches for World Cup-bound players
India and Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli during a promotional event in Bangalore on Saturday. Pic/PTI

Bangalore: If Friday night's Centenary celebrations of Bangalore's oldest club, the Bangalore United Cricket Club, stressed on loyalty to one club, with the likes of Rahul Dravid, Roger Binny, Anil Kumble and GR Viswanath (both not BUCC members) having mostly played for only one club throughout their careers, Saturday afternoon played out a similar theme. Here it wasn't a club that was involved but a IPL franchise and the man professing his loyalty was none other than India and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli."

'Only one franchise for me'

Having been picked from the U-19 draft for the very first season Kohli was very vocal when he said: "I don't see myself leaving or playing for any other franchise." He was speaking at a function to launch RCB's official app and sitting alongside him were Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra, neither of whom will be head coach but will form part of RCB's leadership group, along with Kohli.

Talking of the upcoming IPL season, Kohli said: "We will require absolute professionalism from all our players. We'll give responsibility to the players to handle themselves on the field, off the field, and take good decisions, be responsible about their life and the sport as well."

He wanted the Indian World Cup probables to be similarly responsible. "From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads. And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team — strive towards excellence and improve everyday. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind," said Kohli.

But the RCB skipper ruled out putting a cap on the number of IPL matches an India player could play in this World Cup year. "No, you cannot put a cap on anything. If I'm able to play 10, 12 or 15 games it doesn't necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest. Someone else's body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing.

Lots at stake

"As I said the responsibility lies with the player. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don't want to miss out on such a big event," was his take. The coaches Kirsten and Nehra though made it very clear that they were to help RCB reach its goals and Indian cricket was not their brief. Both stressed that match practice for the players was the best preparation for the World Cup.

Also Read: MS Dhoni is half a captain of the Indian ODI team, says Bishan Singh Bedi

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