If MS Dhoni was the face of Indian cricket when the IPL launched and sent T20 into the stratosphere, there is no double who holds that mantle nowadays.
Dhoni is still dutifully turning out for Chennai Super Kings in his fifth decade, but Virat Kohli is the unparalleled superstar of this Indian generation.
Now 34 and with his transformative spell as India captain in the rear-view mirror, all eyes will be on Kohli when he begins his latest bid for IPL glory in April.
Here is all you need to know about Kohli’s time in the IPL, where he has become respected as one of the finest performers the league has ever seen.
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Virat Kohli IPL team
Kohli is a one-franchise man, having played for Royal Challengers Bangalore since being brought in as an emerging youngster in 2008.
Although his time at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium has coincided with him flourishing as one of the very best all-format cricketers of his generation, there is an infamous caveat.
Has Virat Kohli ever won the IPL?
No. RCB are the IPL’s most noted bridesmaids, having finished as runners-up on three occasions in 2009, 2011 and 2016.
This is despite being able to call upon the talents of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli simultaneously for the best part of a decade — players ranked by the Sporting News as the three greatest men’s T20 batters of all time.
Virat Kohli IPL stats
Kohli’s remarkable level of consistency means he has more runs than any other batter in IPL history.
Only the great Chris Gayle (six) is able to better his five centuries.
|Innings||Runs||High Score||Average||Strike Rate||50s||100s||Sixes|
Virat Kohli IPL history
Kohli’s impressive displays for India in the Under-19 World Cup persuaded RCB to take a chance on him on a youth contract in 2008.
He was the junior member in a team featuring the likes of Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble, with Kevin Pietersen coming in as captain for the opening rounds of the 2009 campaign, where Kohli was unable to prevent RCB from subsiding to a six-run defeat against Deccan Chargers in the final.
Kohli’s initial efforts in the IPL were unremarkable. Across 45 innings in his first three seasons he scored two half-centuries. However, his lavish talent was obvious and he was the only Bangalore player retained prior to the 2011 auction (teams could retain up to four players), after which he was named as vice-captain under Daniel Vettori.
In 2011, the dream line-up of Gayle, Kohli and De Villiers came together, with Virat scoring four fifties. He couldn’t find another as he hit 35 in the final amid RCB subsiding to a 58-run loss against Chennai Super Kings. Their dismal record in finals continued later that year when they suffered a defeat in the Champions League showpiece to Mumbai Indians, the illustrious Royal Challengers batting line-up rolled for 108.
Despite a disappointing 2012, Kohli was appointed as captain following Vettori’s retirement. In a story that would become very familiar in India colours, the added responsibility brought the best out of Virat as he plundered 634 runs at an average of 45.28 and a strike rate of 138.73. Six half-centuries included 99 against Delhi Daredevils.
A first IPL century arrived in 2016 and, once it did, there was no stopping Kohli. That season, he scored four tons and seven fifties in an astounding haul of 973, averaging 81.08 and rattling along at a career-best strike rate of 152.03. It remains the most prolific campaign in IPL history and Kohli was awarded the Orange Cap as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Gayle and Kohli came to the party with half-centuries in the 2016 final but the 209 Sunrisers Hyderabad set them again proved a bridge too far.
Kohli and RCB have failed to scale those heights since, falling in the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. In 2022, they were captained by Faf du Plessis after Kohli stepped down. Last term he became the first player to pass 6,500 IPL runs and reached 7,000 overall in RCB colours.
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Virat Kohli IPL schedule
RCB kick off their 2023 IPL campaign with a mouth-watering clash against Mumbai Indians in Bengaluru.
Here is the full group schedule that Kohli and his teammates will have to negotiate.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 2023 IPL schedule
|April 2||Mumbai Indians (H)||—|
|April 6||Kolkata Knight Riders (A)||—|
|April 10||Lucknow Super Giants (H)||—|
|April 15||Delhi Capitals (H)||—|
|April 17||Chennai Super Kings (H)||—|
|April 20||Punjab Kings (A)||—|
|April 23||Rajasthan Royals (H)||—|
|April 26||Kolkata Knight Riders (A)||—|
|May 1||Lucknow Super Giants (A)||—|
|May 6||Delhi Capitals (A)||—|
|May 9||Mumbai Indians (A)||—|
|May 14||Rajasthan Royals (A)||—|
|May 18||Sunrisers Hyderabad (A)||—|
|May 21||Gujarat Titans (H)||—|
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