Bangalore burdened by title pressure: Kohli

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Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Final – India v New Zealand – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – July 10, 2019 India’s Virat Kohli reacts after losing his wicket Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Royal Challengers Bangalore need to rediscover the joy of cricket if they are to end their Indian Premier League (IPL) title drought, captain Virat Kohli has said.

Star-studded Bangalore have reached three finals of the Twenty20 league but are one of only three existing franchises — along with Delhi and Punjab — not to have won the title.

“You go after something so badly, and it keeps running away from you,” Kohli told former England batsman and ex-RCB team mate Kevin Pietersen in an Instagram chat.

“It has just that added pressure in recent years. We’ve just thought, ‘this is the season, this is the season’, and that’s blown us all over the place.

“I think we need to get that joy back,” Kohli said.

The India captain acknowledged that expectations were bound to be high from a team featuring some of the most destructive Twenty20 batsmen in cricket.

“When you have some of the biggest names to play for RCB, obviously there’s going to be much more attention on the team.

“Even with this team — myself, AB (de Villiers) and (Chris) Gayle has played recently for us as well — we’re always going to be more in focus. We’ve spoken about it,” Kohli said.

“We’ve reached three finals … but those things are irrelevant till the time you don’t win that title.

“Even when we’ve had the best team, we’ve just not been able to do it. That’s one of our main goals. We deserve to win the title,” Kohli said.

Their bid for a maiden IPL title will have to wait though, as the start of this year’s tournament has been put back to April 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with another postponement seemingly inevitable.

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