Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings hinted at Virat Kohli playing an integral role in not only the franchise's leadership team over the next three seasons, but also India's national squad.
Hours before Saturday's fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders, skipper Daniel Vettori flew back to New Zealand looking to get expert opinion on his knee that has troubled him since the World Cup game against Pakistan. Vettori also sat out of Bangalore's last fixture against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.
Kohli was the only player retained by Bangalore ahead of this Indian Premier League (IPL) season, the Mallyas have left no stone unturned in hailing him in many ways as the face of the franchise. He's been the poster boy of most of the franchise's promotional events, a central figure in hoardings, and now the captain in Vettoris' absence.
Speaking to the host broadcasters just minutes before the toss, Jennings spoke highly of Kohli's leadership skills. "I have no doubt in my mind that Kohli is definitely the future captain of India. He hasn't captained a lot so it was nice for people to see what he did during the previous game. It is nice to see him fit into the leadership role with ease. He was very precise with his decisions. I am confident he will continue to do so," he said.
Vettori had maintained an impeccable economy rate of 5.58 in the nine games he had played before heading back home. Kohli is hopeful of his return. "Hopefully he will try to get back and be fit for upcoming games. We will have to wait and watch what happens. It is a very big loss for us, and it's unfortunate," he told reporters. "This has happened to us in the last two seasons too - we lost important players at important times due to injuries. We just need look for a strong combination now and go with that throughout the tournament, and if Dan comes back, nothing like it," said the 22-year old.
A member of Bangalore's management said that Kohli was definitely the face of the franchise: "No doubt (he is), that's why he was retained. He's young and exuberant and has a fantastic future ahead of him. The locals of every city need to relate to a franchise for it to become popular. Players are the vehicles behind a franchise's success story. The owners decided to invest in Kohli to take us forward," he said.