Mumbai, April 18: On this day 15 years ago, the Indian Premier League (IPL) got off to a blistering start as Brendon McCullum shot an unbeaten 158 from 73 balls for Kolkata Knight Riders to set the tone for the league to change the world of cricket forever.
Cut to now, McCullum, the Kolkata head coach, walked down memory lane with senior mentor David Hussey in a video on the league’s official website, recalling the events that led from his circumspect start to usher in an impressive one-man attack on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the opening IPL match.
“Look, I don’t have too many memories, to be honest. It’s a bit of a blur, but I remember getting a chance to bat with you and Sourav and Ricky during those innings. I remember being zero eight balls to start with. My mind was ticking at think, ‘I really embarrassed myself a lot here’.
“So, it was a bit of fate and things were written under the stars. I think with a little bit of fighting and luck coming my way with swings here and there, luckily it worked out,” McCullum recalled.
After the searing blow, McCullum’s value as a great batsman and later as a leader soared unbelievably in the cricketing world. The former New Zealand skipper was happy to play a miniscule role in making IPL the brand it is today.
“No one who supported the IPL, cricket in general, realized how big this tournament was going to be and I think we found out that night what it means for people who follow cricket here in India and also around the world.” . It was nice to play a little hand in that.” Incidentally, McCullum’s undefeated 158 is the only century beaten by a Kolkata batsman in IPL history, which he hopes will change at some point in ICB 2022. “Well, we need to work on that second hundred because I’m his hitting coach. Hopefully, we’ll see the second, third or fourth hundred at some point during the season in no time.” Call it a coincidence, Kolkata, currently sixth in the points table, will take on Rajasthan Royals at Brabourne Stadium on Monday. McCullum now wants his team to make the IPL 15th anniversary day memorable by improving in certain areas.
“It’s just trying to do what we do a little bit better and fine-tune a couple of areas. I don’t think we have to change much. We have a very good team and we have a good camaraderie and morale among the players.” group. If we keep morale and communication high, then we will give ourselves the best opportunity to showcase talent. That would be the message that would come from me and the support staff will convey the same message.” For McCullum, who has been a part of the league since the first game as a player and now as a manager, the IPL serves as a good exposure for the players improve their game despite Kolkata only having three wins from their first six games of the current season.
“Well, I was exposed to this big league many years ago and it’s been pretty good. And in this tournament, some of our great players have already stepped up. A little bit disappointed, it probably would have been good if we won one more game in this stage”. Well I think we actually played pretty good cricket and got the reasonable formula of how we wanted to bat and go for that with the ball. Overall, we look forward to coming back to our next games.”
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