For the longest time, the name of the IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore has been synonymous with captain Virat Kohli. Kohli became RCB captain in 2011 and has become the face of the IPL franchise since. Despite not winning a single title in fourteen years, RCB have maintained a massive fan following in the Indian Premier League – majorly, thanks to its association with two of the best batsmen of the 21st century in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Kohli has been RCB captain for the longest time and has been a highly successful figure.
However, Kohli relinquished the RCB captaincy ahead of IPL 2022 and the side is now looking for a new captain. There have been a lot of names thrown around with regards to who will lead the RCB team in IPL 2022. Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer, Jason Holder, and David Warner were some of the names being discussed ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction. However, Iyer was named the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders while Warner and Holder went to different teams.
It is still unclear who will be Virat Kohli’s successor but the two main names getting discussed currently are Glenn Maxwell and Faf du Plessis.
The franchise owned by Vijay Mallya has had its fair share of controversies in the early years but hasn’t lost its brand value. RCB haven’t been able to win a championship despite the presence of some world-class players over the years.
On the inception of the IPL, all the teams were given an option to choose an ‘Icon Player’. RCB decided to bring Karnataka’s favourite son, Rahul Dravid on board and appointed him as the captain of the team.
Here we take a look at all the players who have led Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL:
Rahul Dravid (2008)
Chosen as the ‘Icon Player’ by RCB, the Indian legend took the responsibility of leading the side in the inaugural IPL season. However, things didn’t go as expected for the franchise with abysmal performance throughout the tournament.
Royal Challengers Bangalore could only win four matches and lost ten in IPL 2008, finishing seventh in the points table. Dravid was removed from the captaincy after that poor result but remained part of RCB for two more years.
As a batsman, Dravid scored 1132 runs in three seasons, averaging 28.6 with a strike rate of 119.7.
Kevin Pietersen (2009)
It is said that Kevin Pietersen paved the way for the love affair between IPL and English players in recent years. Pietersen played in the tournament when the cash-rich league was frowned upon by the ECB. Royal Challengers Bangalore bought England’s swashbuckling batsman for a record USD 1.55 million, making Pietersen the costliest IPL player alongside Andrew Flintoff, who was taken by CSK.
RCB appointed Pietersen as the skipper for IPL 2009 even though he was going to be available for half season. He led RCB in six games, managing to win only two and losing four.
As a batsman, Pietersen didn’t do much in 2009 but was outstanding in the next season, scoring 236 in seven games at an average and strike rate of 59 and 150.3, respectively.
Anil Kumble (2009-2010)
Arguably India’s greatest spinner, Anil Kumble was an important part of RCB’s early years. The veteran was handed over the captaincy halfway into the 2009 edition after Kevin Pietersen left for England duty.
Kumble showed his tactical acumen and took RCB to the playoffs after they had lost four out of first six games under Pietersen. RCB defeated Chennai Super Kings in the semifinals to reach the finals. Their dream run ended in the final as they lost to Deccan Chargers narrowly by six runs. In the 2009 Champions League T20, RCB didn’t see much success, losing three out of five matches.
Under Kumble’s leadership, RCB continued to do well in the 2010 season, reaching the playoffs with seven wins. They eventually lost to Mumbai Indians in the semifinals but defeated Deccan Chargers to claim third place. They also made it to the semifinals of the 2010 Champions League T20 but lost to CSK.
Kumble captained RCB in 34 matches in two seasons across IPL and CLT20, winning 19 and losing 15 of those. He remains as an RCB captain with the best win percentage of 55.88. As a player, Kumble took 53 scalps for RCB at an outstanding economy of 6.66, including his superb spell of 4 for 16 in the 2009 IPL final.
Daniel Vettori (2011-2012)
In the 2011 mega auction, RCB did quite an overhaul of their squad and brought in guys like AB de Villiers, Daniel Vettori and Zaheer Khan. Former New Zealand skipper was quickly appointed as the RCB captain.
Under Vettori’s leadership, RCB topped the points table to reach the playoffs. They lost Qualifier 1 to Chennai Super Kings but defeated Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2 to reach their second IPL final. Unfortunately for them, they could not overcome the challenge of CSK in the final. RCB also made it to the CLT20 final in the same year but lost to Mumbai Indians.
In IPL 2012, Royal Challengers Bangalore missed out on the playoffs by a narrow margin and Vettori was dropped after nine matches. Overall, Vettori led RCB in 28 matches, winning 15 and losing 13 of those.
Virat Kohli (2011-2021)
Virat Kohli is the only one to have played all the IPL seasons for one franchise since the league’s inception. Royal Challengers Bangalore bagged Kohli in the U19 player draft for USD 30000 prior to the inaugural edition. With his stocks rising, it was a no-brainer to appoint him as the skipper.
Kohli first led the side in 2011 before taking over from Vettori permanently at the backend of the 2012 season. Kohli’s reign as the RCB captain has been pretty disappointing, in which RCB has only managed to reach the playoffs thrice in eight seasons. They also had to take the wooden spoon twice.
The most successful period for Kohli’s RCB came in 2015-16. In IPL 2015, RCB reached the playoffs and defeated Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator before crashing out of the tournament with a loss in qualifier 2. They had a better run next year as they finished in the top 2 in the points table and defeated Gujarat Lions to advance to the final. But once again RCB faltered in an IPL final, this time at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In the 2021 edition, before the tournament was postponed, RCB seemed to have gotten things right with five wins from seven games.
Overall, Kohli has led RCB in 132 matches with 60 wins and 65 losses. As a batsman, he has been sublime for them, being the highest run-getter in the league’s history. Kohli has amassed 6076 runs averaging 38 with a strike rate of 130.4.
Shane Watson (2017)
With his phenomenal record in the IPL, the Australian all-rounder Shane Watson garnered quite an interest in the 2016 auction. Royal Challengers Bangalore bagged him for a whopping sum of Rs. 9.5 crores.
Despite not having much impact in the 2016 IPL, RCB handed over the captaincy to Watson in the early part of IPL 2017 while regular skipper Virat Kohli was out with an injury. Watson led the side in only three games, winning one and losing two of them.
As a player, Shane Watson could not make the same impact for RCB as he has done for other teams. Watson could only score 250 runs in 22 innings at RCB with an awful average of 13.2 and strike rate of 117.9.