Former all-rounder Irfan Pathan has praised the unparalleled loyalty of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fans, acknowledging their unwavering support despite the franchise’s absence from the IPL winner’s circle since 2008. Although RCB reached the finals in 2009, 2011, and 2016, they faced defeats against Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings, and Sunrisers Hyderabad, respectively.
Speaking on Star Sports, Pathan highlighted the exceptional relationship between RCB and its fans, noting the unprecedented commitment of the fanbase. He commended their resilience even in the face of multiple near misses, citing the team’s close encounters with victory.
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“I have never seen a franchise-fan relationship like RCB and their fans. They have the most loyal fanbase in the entire world. They haven’t won a single trophy. They came close a couple of times to winning that trophy,” said Irfan Pathan.
Pathan specifically pointed to the 2016 season when RCB, led by Virat Kohli, reached the pinnacle of the tournament. Kohli’s extraordinary batting performance saw him amass 973 runs in 16 matches at an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03, including four centuries and seven fifties. Despite their captain’s heroics, RCB fell short in the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad, losing by 8 runs.
“2016 was a very special season for him and RCB. I thought that was the year to win. If Virat Kohli and RCB win the title, that will be the biggest moment of IPL history, not just RCB history,” added Irfan Pathan.
With Kohli stepping down as captain before the 2022 IPL edition, Faf du Plessis assumed leadership. However, RCB finished sixth and missed the playoffs. Pathan expressed the sentiment that a potential victory in the upcoming IPL 2024 would mark a historic moment for the league.