In what was a rather less-surprising decision, Kolkata Knight Riders decided to replace Dinesh Karthik with Eoin Morgan as the skipper mid-way through the season - something that brought with positive reactions among pundits and fans. However, Monty Panesar didn’t think it was a good idea.
Kolkata Knight Riders were placed at the fourth position when they decided to do a mid-season captaincy swap, with the franchise calling it in a press release that the decision was actually made by Karthik himself who wanted to bat freely with a little less burden. The change in captaincy, however, did a little to change their fortune, with the side registering a loss and a Super Over win thus after. But was it a move that was really required?
Coming straight out of the strategic stand-point, well, no one can tell the correct answer. DK has scored a 4 and 29* since and while Morgan's tactics didn’t change as compared to his predecessor. Although RR and CSK continued to underperform, making things easier for KKR ahead of the RCB encounter on Wednesday, Morgan has a tough road to success lurking around. In an exclusive interview with SportsCafe, former English spinner Monty Panesar, who despite being a great fan of Morgan’s captaincy, shared that he is not a great fan of this particular decision by the KKR management which has added undue pressure on Morgan.
“I think it’s a ridiculous decision to make Eoin Morgan the captain at KKR because in the last 12 IPLs, it’s been nine captains from India who have won it, right? Only three foreign captains. Why halfway through the tournament, change the captaincy? History tells you that, you know, a team having an Indian captain is actually the team who performs better,” Panesar told SportsCafe on a long zoom call from the UK.
“And, as Gautam Gambhir said, the legacy of a team can be under immense pressure. It’s now KKR that has put themselves under pressure. If they don’t perform, you know, everyone’s going to question if the captaincy decision wasn’t right. But, if you’ve DK captain still, and the season didn’t go well, then it allows next season for Eoin Morgan to take the captaincy. And you’re putting yourself less under so much pressure. If they get to the playoffs, full credit to them.”
The decision probably stemmed from the association that had been processed long before. Morgan and Brendon McCullum share a fantastic friendship over the last half a decade. In the past, the English limited-overs skipper had admitted that it was the Kiwi man and his brand of batting that was the silent inspiration behind England changing their ODI approach on the head. Now with McCullum being at the helm of KKR management, it only made sense that Morgan becomes the captain for the season. But Panesar feels that it is asking too much of a guy while quickly adding that a turn around will be a remarkable effort from the Kolkata-based franchise.
“Brendon McCullum likes a stronger leader. He probably wanted Morgan at the start of the competition. And I think that Morgan is probably, as we all know, an even better captain. But you’re asking too much of Morgan to say, right, guys, change our season around now. Get us into the playoffs by bringing in Morgan as captain."
“So, you know, there is a possibility of doing that. It’s a quick turnaround and can he do it? Um, it’ll be a remarkable effort, you know. It’ll probably be one of his great achievements if Morgan can actually get KKR into the playoffs. I think it would be really good for him to do that. But it’s just.. I think it’s asking too much, you know. If Andre Russell was in form, then I probably think, yes, they’ve got a good chance, but I guess… I think they must have Morgan captain for next year. They need to have him for two years or it’s just pointless ― him just being captain halfway through the season,” Panesar paused before we moved to other topics around IPL which we will publish in the next part.