Kolkata Knight Riders head coach and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says he was ‘a bit paralyzed with fear’ when COVID-19 knocked in the first half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in India. It was KKR spinner Varun Chakraborty and seamer Sandeep Warrier who first tested positive for COVID-19 in May in the middle of the league, which was eventually postponed.
The Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise, led by England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, put up a tremendous performance in the first half. They are ranked seventh but McCullum expects a strong showing when action resumes in the UAE on September 19.
“With regards to the upcoming tournament (the second part of the IPL stage), we can end it properly. We can take the game forward and we are in a position where we need things to go our way,” McCullum was quoted as saying by the KKR website.
“We have to run in the field, challenge each other privately, support each other publicly and try to get the best out of each other over the next 4-5 weeks. Who knows we can get away with it. Where can we go together. There were times throughout the season when I felt we were being paralyzed a little bit by fear,” he said.
— dk (@dinesh karthik) September 13, 2021
This virus had wreaked havoc in India at that time and took thousands of lives. 39-year-old former New Zealand captainThe one who started his IPL journey as a player with KKR is hopeful that the team will be able to get rid of the anger created in the first leg of the league.
“I haven’t been able to free people up enough to understand that and it’s kind of a challenge for me. But it’s a good challenge for the boys as well that they need to expand their thinking range as well.
“Hopefully we will be able to overcome the anger that built up in the first half of the season, just go out there and try and enjoy. That is my ambition for the franchise and hence I am unshakable and unwavering in my belief that we need to play a brave style of play,” he said.
Talking about his coaching style, McCullum said, “When we left India (the IPL was called off due to Kovid), I think everyone understands me as a coach that I am a coach. How do I want to play the team?
“I’m not even sorry about that because my job at KKR is to try to build something that’s going to be long lasting for the franchise,” McCullum said.
KKR will begin their campaign in the second leg on Monday (September 20) against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi.
(with PTI input)