Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum has admitted that the team was paralysed by fear when spinner Varun Chakravarthy and seamer Sandeep Warrier had tested covid positive during the first half of IPL 2021 in April-May, following which, the tournament was eventually postponed.
The first half of the IPL 2021 was suspended for an indefinite period in the month of May, due to the growing covid-19 concerns. KKR’s Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were the first among players to have returned positive tests, and the spread thereafter only added to the worries.
Reflecting on the challenging phase, Brendon McCullum admitted that there were jitters in the KKR camp and that he wasn’t able to free up the players.
“There were sometimes throughout the season when I just felt we were being paralysed a little bit by fear,” McCullum was quoted as saying by the KKR website. “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.”
KKR didn’t have the best of starts to the season, winning just two of their first seven games which has put them at the seventh position in the points table. McCullum however, is hopeful of a turnaround during the UAE leg.
“In regards to the tournament which is upcoming (second half of the IPL phase), we can end it right,” he said. “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.”
The former New Zealand captain is recognised for his aggressive brand of cricket since his playing days, and the trait has stayed with him even during his coaching duties. McCullum emphasised on how the positive approach is integral for the team in the longer run.
“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.
“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.”
KKr will resume their IPL 2021 campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 20 in Abu Dhabi.