IPL 2021: Virat Kohli remains a leader; we’ll celebrate his contributions as RCB captain- Harshal Patel

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Harshal Patel thanked RCB captain Virat Kohli for his contributions to his growth and the franchise as “leader” in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) and said the team will celebrate his contributions over the years.

Kohli’s tenure as RCB captain ended without an IPL trophy after the team suffered a 4-wicket defeat at the hands of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator of the ongoing IPL 2021 on Monday (October 11).

However, Patel said it would have been nicer to celebrate Kohli’s contributions with the IPL trophy, they will celebrate his contributions as RCB skipper.

With Kohli to step down as RCB captain, there will be a new captain from the next season, but the current Purple Cap holder said the Indian skipper remains a “leader” within the group. Harshal said: “In terms of his captaincy, there are captains and there are leaders, he is definitely a leader. Just because he won’t have the captaincy tag, it doesn’t make him any less of a leader. So, I just want to thank him for whatever he has contributed to this team and to my growth.”

He added, “Yeah, I think, absolutely we are going to celebrate his contributions and it would have been nicer to celebrate that with the trophy in our hand, but it was not meant to be. But his contributions, like I said, have been immense and we are definitely going to celebrate that.”

The RCB star said his side was disappointed with the way the franchise finished the IPL 14.

He added, “Obviously, we are all disappointed in the way we finished the tournament. The way we were playing, I think we should have been in (the) top two. But as we all know, it is a game of small margins.”

He continued, “In hindsight, you could have done a lot of things differently, but at the end of the day, we all know that once (the) top four teams are qualified, they are all on the same line. So, at the end of the day, who plays better on that particular day matters, but obviously we all are very disappointed in the way we finished but we are also proud of the way we played cricket in the league stage.”

The Haryana pacer is the leading wicket-taker in the IPL 2021 with 32 wickets from 15 games, including best figures of 5/27. He equaled Dwanye Bravo’s record for most wickets in an IPL season and Harshal was pleased with his performance this season.

Harshal said, “I am very happy with what I have been able to achieve and very happy with how I contributed to the (team’s) wins. Records are something that I don’t really look at, but in the context of the game, it would have been nice if he (Devdutt Padikkal) had taken the catch, we could have gone a little, even a little closer. So, in terms of the game, that was probably an important wicket, but in terms of records, it doesn’t really matter much to me.”

Praising Kohli, Patel said the RCB skipper has always backed him and the other bowler in the team. He continued, “Like I said earlier many times, the RCB management and Virat showed a lot of confidence from the start, even though I hadn’t bowled in the death overs in the IPL, which I did for Haryana. So, suddenly to give me that responsibility, they would have definitely seen something in me and they made that decision that I will be bowling the most difficult overs. So, I am very grateful for the faith that they have shown in me.”

He signed off by saying, “Everyone knows Virat, the kind of energy and passion he brings to the field. Everyone knows that he backs the bowlers and gives them space, allows them to execute their skills, plans. I have learned a lot playing with him since 2012.”