Virat Kohli might have relinquished captaincy but his energy is something that Royal Challengers Bangalore team will need at every step of its IPL campaign, newly appointed skipper Faf du Plessis said on Saturday. The four-time IPL winner for CSK was on Saturday unveiled as RCB skipper to take the baton from their longest standing captain, Virat Kohli who took charge ahead of IPL 2013. “Even with him (Kohli) not being the captain, that energy he brings to himself and to the team is hugely important for us. We’ll try and use that as best as we can,” Du Plessis said in a virtual media interaction, on the sidelines of the RCB captain-launch event.
The former South Africa skipper further said Kohli has brought about transformation to Indian cricket with his captaincy.
“His (Kohli) performance as a cricket player has been probably one of the greatest, so huge respect for what he’s done not only with the bat in his hand but also in captaincy perspective, he’s changed Indian cricket,” Du Plessis said.
“I’ve seen that happen over time. Playing against India for so long, I could see that shift, his leadership footprint has brought in the Indian team — a competitive, fit Indian team that was fighting fire with fire as no Indian team ever did before.
“He’s got an extremely strong leadership style and that rubs off obviously on players underneath him and that is something that we would still need.
Apart from Kohli, the team has players like Glen Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik, who have captaincy expertise in the franchise cricket.
“So for me, it’s easy to pull that knowledge, but the tricky part is to always have clarity. I think that’s where teams really do well… So I suppose that’s where my responsibility comes in,” he said with a clarity in his mind.
The team will sorely miss the 360-degree AB de Villiers, one of the greatest batters of the modern day game as he announced his retirement from all forms of the game last year in November just ahead of the IPL retention.
“It’s huge shoes to fill in. There is no cricketer in the world that will try to fill in AB’s shoes. Those shoes are too big. I’ve got big feet but they’re never going to match AB’s feat. I wouldn’t even try, he’s an absolute great of the game,” Du Plessis said of his former South African teammate.
Alongside the overwhelming 20,014 international runs in his repertoire, De Villiers also boasts of records of fastest fifty, century and 150 in ODIs.
He also managed to rack up 4522 runs from 157 matches that he has played for RCB at an astonishing average and an electrifying strike rate.
“He mentioned throughout his career that it’d be nice if I could join him yet RCB so the timing is obviously not great now that he has decided to retire and also retired three years ago in International cricket.
“Unfortunately, we won’t be playing together. But it’s nice that one friend replaces another. And there’s something nice to that story,” he added.
Director of cricket operations Mike Hesson however said they would look at different options including that of Dinesh Karthik to play the finisher’s role in De Villiers’ absence.
“In terms of the middle order, we’ve got DK who’s obviously a nice power player and an experienced finisher as well, likely to play that role. We’re not looking to replace AB with one player. It’s an unrealistic expectation, but within the squad and within our batting group we’ve filled a lot of those holes.” “But yeah, there will never be another ABD and if there is one, I’d love to find him and love to watch and play,” Hesson said.
On his captaincy philosophy, Du Plessis said he would look to build a ‘relational’ style in his captaincy and would look to form a bond with his teammates.
“For me, first and foremost, my style would be a relational style. It will be to connect with a player and start to get to know everyone. As I said, I come in from the outside, so the first part of how I suppose the journey for me would be to build relationships.” “From thereon, you try to find out whether small things make each individual tick and how to get the best out of them,” Du Plessis said.
Asked about his goals, he said: “I’m not different to any other player. I’m very competitive. I played the game to win. For me, there’s always a real focus on how you do that and the process to get there.
“As a batsman, I want to be one of the best performing batters every time I go out there. There’s an end goal but I focus more on the process and actually looking at them,” he concluded.
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