RCB endured a poor 2018 season, finishing sixth on the league table and suffering from questionable recruitments and glaring deficiencies in death bowling and support batting. Their misfortunes coincided with a marketing campaign built around a Kannada chant that went “ee sala cup namde (This year the cup is ours).” Kohli acknowledged that this was perhaps not the wisest move.
“We realised this last year. You shouldn’t create an atmosphere even before the tournament has started, that ‘We are going to win this year’, because there are seven other teams too. You have to be realistic. It’s not a one-team dominated tournament,” Kohli said. “From my point of view, I can ignore it. But if you can’t take a guarantee that everyone else is going to ignore it, then it can stay in your mind.
“That’s why I said it’s very important to be aligned with the team’s culture and vision, and be a part of the team and not put expectations that are far away. No one wants to win more badly than the players, that anyone will guarantee you.”
What Kohli wants from his team this season is for everyone to buy into the team culture while being individually responsible for themselves.
“What we’ve spoken about this year is to lay down a culture, which is the most important thing for any team,” he said. “One thing that remains an essence for any team is striving for excellence and being committed to what you want to achieve. That takes commitment on a daily basis, and that is something I’m looking forward to this season. 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.
“We all are here taking care of that culture for now. We’re not going to be here after a few years, none of us can be here forever. But RCB will remain for a long, long time and the next lot of players that come in should feel that culture, embrace it and be proud of being part of this franchise.”