IPL 2021: Kohli’s announcement to quit captaincy didn’t have any impact on RCB’s performance- Hesson

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Mike Hesson categorically denied that Virat Kohli’s announcement of quitting captaincy had any role in the team’s humiliating loss to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their opening match in the second leg of IPL 2021.

On Monday, September 20, KKR registered a nine-wicket win over the RCB, as Bangalore could manage only 92 runs and Kolkata chased down the target in only 10 overs for the loss of one wicket in Abu Dhabi.

Notably, Kohli – who has been with RCB since the inception of IPL in 2008 and became captain of the team in 2013 – had announced that he will step down as RCB after the end of the ongoing IPL 14 in the UAE.

After the defeat, questions were raised whether it was the result of Kohli’s announcement, but Hesson insisted that it had no impact on his team’s performance against KKR.

He further admitted that RCB didn’t adapt to conditions in Abu Dhabi and lost wickets in clubs against KKR, but hopes they will turn around pretty quickly in the tournament.

Hesson said at the post-match press conference: “No, I (don’t) think so. It was actually important to get any form of distraction out of the way early. So, we sort of talked about making that announcement as soon as possible really, so all the players were aware of it.”

He added, “But it really hasn’t had any impact on today’s performance. We weren’t certainly sharp as we needed to be with the bat, we didn’t adapt to conditions, we lost wickets in clubs, and everything we can’t do as a batting group. But I’m still confident of this group; we will turn around pretty quickly.”

On Varun Chakravarthy (3/13), the RCB coach said: “I think it is very tough to start against Chakravarthy, so the fact that we keep losing wickets, that meant that he was able to attack new batsmen.”

Hesson further pointed out that the RCB batsmen were not as sharp as they needed to be against the KKR, as he refused to blame the team’s composition for the loss.

The New Zealander further explained, “The team composition wasn’t the problem today, we got ourselves to 1/42, and even going back further than that, we probably got the toss wrong, so we scrapped to 1/42, but certainly wasn’t a 93 wicket. We should have found out a way to get ourselves to 150, and whether that would be enough or not would be debatable as well, because the ball started to slide on, but all in all, we weren’t sharp enough with the bat.”

The RCB Director of Cricket and head coach has also opened up on AB de Villiers not keeping wickets.

Hesson revealed, “You saw AB de Villers didn’t have the gloves, so certainly we have got to look after AB. He is a very important player for us and not one that we could risk at the moment behind the stumps, so that was unfortunate for Rajat (Patidar).”

He signed off by saying, “We needed to pick up a keeper-bat, to bat at three, and KS Bharat, he has been outstanding in the whole camp leading up-to to this game, certainly deserves his inclusion. We wanted to have a real batsman at six, we had the abilities, still have six bowlers, and once again Sachin Baby was a left-hander and obviously gave us some options with the ball, potentially if we needed one as well, so, the reason was with AB not keeping, we needed to make that change at the top.”