Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan has expressed admiration for the unwavering support shown by fans of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) despite the team's lack of success in the Indian Premier League (IPL) over the years.
RCB, one of the most popular franchises in the league, has yet to clinch an IPL trophy since the inception of the tournament in 2008.
Irfan Pathan commends RCB fans
Pathan, in an interview with Star Sports, highlighted the remarkable bond between RCB and its fans, labeling them as the most loyal fanbase in the cricketing world. Despite RCB's numerous appearances in the IPL finals in 2009, 2011, and 2016, they have fallen short each time, finishing as runners-up on all occasions.
“I have never seen a franchise-fan relationship like RCB and their fans,” he said on Star Sports.
“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.”
The former all-rounder reminisced about the sensational 2016 IPL season, where RCB, led by the prolific Virat Kohli, came agonizingly close to lifting the coveted trophy.
Kohli's monumental performance that season, amassing a record-breaking 973 runs at an astonishing average of 81.08, with four centuries and seven half-centuries, remains etched in IPL history.
Pathan acknowledged the disappointment of RCB's defeat in the 2016 final against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, emphasizing that it was a missed opportunity for the franchise to clinch their maiden IPL title. Despite Kohli's heroic efforts with the bat, RCB fell short by eight runs in a thrilling encounter.
Looking ahead to the upcoming IPL season, Pathan expressed optimism about RCB's prospects in IPL 2024. He believes that if Kohli and RCB manage to secure the elusive title this time around, it would mark the pinnacle of IPL history, transcending the significance of any previous achievements within the league.
The 37-year-old former cricketer lauded the resilience and dedication of RCB's fans, who have stood by the team through triumphs and tribulations alike.
Cheers from fans when @IrfanPathan spoke about #RCB at #StarNahiFar event in Hyderabad! — Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) February 11, 2024
From Dhoni's likely last IPL to Virat's chances at winning, catch Irfan & #MSKPrasad discuss #IPLOnStar!
Head to YT https://t.co/Vj8LQCVSB2 & SS1 Telugu, today 5:15 PM! pic.twitter.com/EEytVMQe5h
Despite enduring heartbreaks and near misses, RCB's supporters have remained steadfast in their allegiance, hoping for that glorious moment when their beloved team lifts the IPL trophy.
Pathan's sentiments echo the sentiments of many cricket enthusiasts who recognize the special bond between RCB and its passionate fanbase. As the anticipation builds for IPL 2024, all eyes will be on RCB as they strive to turn their fans' dreams into reality and etch their name in the annals of IPL history with a maiden title triumph.
“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.”
Pathan's heartfelt comments underscore the significance of RCB's quest for IPL glory and the unwavering support of their devoted fans, setting the stage for what could potentially be a historic season for the franchise.