Before you step up and criticise your own team, yes you, KKR fans, because no one really cares about Brendon McCullum as a coach other than you, the duo of Eoin Morgan and McCullum has really revolutionized the Indian Premier League. Wondering how? Read the headline once again!
Much much before the start of the Indian Premier League, the former Kiwi skipper took to the stage as the head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders’ sister franchise, Trinbago Knight Riders. They didn’t have Andre Russell, their star all-rounder, but had Sunil Narine and a host of superstars enough to warrant them the Caribbean Premier League, which also made the wave, of course through, you know who - Kolkata Knight Riders’ fans. They made McCullum look like he was bigger than the entire competition, his strategies, biggest of them all, which made them win in unbeaten fashion, thwarting all kinds of trouble. That was the start of this revolution.
However, back home, they had an issue with the same plan. Dinesh Karthik wasn’t quite the figure that suited their portfolio, with his orthodox captaincy style, and hence McCullum had already called the franchise for the inclusion of the English skipper, Eoin Morgan. For the outside world, it looked like it was a genuine move to strengthen their middle-order but in reality, it was a bigger move than expected, as they planned to make him the face of the franchise, in a bid to revolutionize IPL.
It was propagated in such a way that the tactics were leaked one by one, starting with the news of the big Jamaican Andre Russell. Russell had earlier demanded to be promoted to No.4 and that really worked well with their customers. Oh by customers, they mean the fans, the ones who just wanted to get the right-hander to bat at the top of the order. The reason that they arranged for all his services, including bringing him to the Middle East was to show that they care about him when really they did it all for the fans.
In case you are puzzled, they even approached Kieron Pollard for a sensational move to the franchise next year but the all-rounder declined it, which made them trust Russell and his child-like wishes. Remember the audacious interview from David Hussey, who went on to say that Russell will score a double-century batting at No.4? By that, he just meant he would score as many runs in the entire tournament. Now you can talk all day about the left-right hand batting approach, who do you think made it this big? Karthik? KKR? No, the main man behind it is none other than the Kiwi coach, who convinced the entire world that it was a gem of a move but in reality, you know what it was.
Forget that, do you remember childhood days when the batting-order in gully-cricket was decided by tapping on a guy’s back and then according to the number, the batsman would walk out to play. Now back then after such a setup, didn’t we call ourselves a genius? McCullum just did the same except he did it digitally, deciding his batting line-up - it’s all based on an incredible set of coding and algorithm (shhhh). So when Rahul Tripathi walked out to bat at No.8, it looked like a genius move as it nearly paid off and that Varun Chakravarthy move, that too instantly paid off. However, unfortunately, it was Karthik who was still the skipper for them; now you know why he was sacked! It was not the cricket they wanted to play, they didn’t really want to play it in an orthodox manner, and that’s where all the changes came in ringing.
Suddenly, there was the news, which made everyone shocked, that too when KKR were still handsomely sitting fourth on the IPL table. Dinesh Karthik stepped down to concentrate on his batting, and Morgan was made the skipper. We got to know of this move before you all because it was part of the mega-plan that McCullum had with the KKR board. The plan to send Tripathi, in fact, was just to tarnish the last bit of image that the right-hander had, which instead turned into a good move.
That was not just it, they already sniffed out that Karthik indirectly was targeting them, with all those comments like ‘have to discuss the batting order with McCullum,’ this was all to show that it was the Kiwi star who had complete control. Once Morgan was appointed the skipper, the first of the move was to bring in Chris Green into the team, a move that was to ‘elevate’ them to a higher level. But the fans were tired of it, they wanted a move-out, wanted the management to see Lockie Ferguson into the playing XI, and there he was, all to please the fans. In between these two moves, KKR went ballsy and showed that they have enough talent on the bench to transform T20 cricket. Didn’t you see Nikhil Naik batting lower down the order? Not just him, they also did the same with Rinku Singh, who batted ahead of skipper Eoin Morgan - that’s just another page of their coded system.
When they won the super-over clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad, they were already one leg through to the next stage, needing just a couple of more victories to get themselves across the line. But that’s the catch if they did get through that way, they wouldn’t trend on Twitter, they wouldn’t have sold all those Blood Pressure medicines in the city, which are affiliated with the club, and more importantly, they can’t quite follow the footsteps of the other franchise to thrill their fans.
If you really think Russell was out injured with a hamstring and only returned in the last game, you are quite a fool. And that move which made them look bigger than life - i.e Sunil Narine, who looked like a better all-rounder all because of the 'genius' move from McCullum - in all was just a desperate decision. If you forget all of it, they opened with Nitish Rana in the end, in short, revolutionised the game in such a way it represented Pep Guardiola and his strategies at Bayern Munich - everyone can play anywhere and can bowl anywhere, in the powerplay, at the death and in the middle-overs.
It was a plan, it was a well-defined plan to show that everything was seemingly going against them but they beat all the odds to win it from an unfavourable position. McCullum is Cricket's very own Guardiola, and his team is Bayern Munich, with the title still elusive. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist,” but in this case, the greatest trick that McCullum and Eoin Morgan pulled was to convince the entire world that KKR were a bad team and couldn’t qualify for the playoffs despite having the best of teams and in due course, they had just revolutionized the entire league! Don't be shocked if they promote Pat Cummins as the opener next season, for after all, should it happen, it will all be a part of the 'McMorgan' plan.