Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Head coach Brendon McCullum has admitted that the team felt “paralysed a little bit” throughout the first phase of the IPL 2021, which was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
KKR had a disappointing stint during the first phase of the IPL 2021. With only two wins out of the seven matches, the team played during the first phase of the IPL 2021 before the tournament was called off owing to the rising number of Covid-19 cases among the tournament participants KKR is languishing at the second last position in the IPL 2021 points table.
However, McCullum, who took over the role of the coach of the franchise in 2020, has backed his team and said that he believes that the team has a chance of bouncing back in the tournament and make it to the playoffs. They require six wins to secure a place in the top four.
“In regards to the tournament which is upcoming (IPL phase II), 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. 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,” McCullum said.
“Everyone who supports KKR knows exactly the type of cricket they are going to play. We are going to try and entertain and take the opposition on. There were sometimes throughout the season when I just felt we were being paralysed a little bit by fear.
“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,” he said.
The 39-year-old former New Zealand skipper further spoke about his coaching style and 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.
The fourteenth edition of the tournament will resume on September 19 with a blockbuster clash between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Dubai. The action will then shift to Abu Dhabi on September 20 where KKR will commence their campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.