Brendon McCullum, Kolkata Knight Riders head coach says they were “paralyzed a little bit by fear” when coronavirus struck the first half of the IPL in India. It was KKR’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and seamer Sandeep Warrier, who first tested positive for COVID-19 in May in the middle of the league, which was eventually postponed due to more Covid-19 cases due to bio bubble breaches.
The Purple and Gold brigade led by England white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan had an underwhelming first half. They are languishing at the seventh spot but Brendon McCullum is hopeful for a strong showing when action resumes from September 19 in the UAE.
Brendon McCullum: There Were Sometimes Throughout IPL 2021 When KKR Was Being Paralyzed By Fear Due To Covid-19 Cases In The Camp
The spike of positive cases in the bio-bubble had already resulted in the postponement of two IPL games earlier. The KKR vs RCB clash was rescheduled after spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pacer Sandeep Warrier returned with positive results.
Later, the CSK vs RR fixture was also rescheduled after a couple of fresh cases were reported from the CSK camp. However, the governing bodies were forced to take the massive step as two more players – SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha and DC’s Amit Mishra were infected by the virus.
“In regards to the tournament which is upcoming (second half of the IPL phase), we can end it right. We can take the game on and we’re in a situation where we need things to go our way,” Brendon McCullum was quoted as saying by the KKR website.“We need to hit the ground running, challenge one another privately, support one another publicly and try and get the best out of one another in the next 4-5 weeks. Who knows where we can go with this. There were sometimes throughout the season when I just felt we were being paralyzed a little bit by fear,” Brendon McCullum added.
The virus had wreaked havoc in India at that time, claiming thousands of lives. Prasidh Krishna, who has been picked as a standby player for England tour, became the fourth Kolkata Knight Riders player to test positive for Covid-19. KKR wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.
Brendon McCullum: KKR Will Just Go Out There And Try And Enjoy The Game
The 39-year-old former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who started his IPL journey as a player with KKR, is hopeful the team will be able to get rid of the angst that had been built in the first phase of the league.
“I wasn’t able to free the guys up enough to understand that and that’s sort of a challenge for me. But it is also a good challenge for the guys as well that they need to push the envelope of their own thinking as well.”
“Hopefully we will be able to strip away a bit of the angst which had built up in the first part of the season, just go out there and try and enjoy ourselves. That’s the ambition that I have got for the franchise and hence why I am unapologetic and unrelenting in my belief that we need to play a braver style of play,” Brendon McCullum said.
Talking about his coaching style, McCullum said, “When we left India (after IPL was called off due to Covid), I think everyone understood me as a coach on how I want our team to play. I am unapologetic about that as well because my job is to try and build something at KKR that is going to last far longer than I am going to last for the franchise,” McCullum added.
KKR-led by Eoin Morgan will open their second-phase campaign against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 20 in Abu Dhabi. KKR have to lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Capitals (DC), Punjab Kings (PBKS), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Mumbai Indians (MI), and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the remaining 7 matches.
Standing at the 7th position, the team needs a victory in five matches to ensure a top-four spot. The likes of Tim Seifert, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi hasn’t played many games for KKR this season and may get opportunities in the UAE leg.