Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum hailed the impact that Venkatesh Iyer and the rest of the Indian batsman in their top order on their form in the second half of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). KKR went from having just two wins in seven matches to reach the final in the UAE leg of the season.
Venkatesh, opening the innings with Shubman Gill, scored 370 runs in 10 innings and even put in handy shifts with the ball, taking three wickets in the season. “Venkatesh Iyer has been an incredible story. He was actually going to play in the next game after what turned out to be our last game in India but the break came at the right time there in a funny way. It gave him the opportunity to get a couple of months of cricket under his belt,” McCullum told the media after KKR’s 27-run defeat to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final on Friday.
“Then it was just a matter of bringing the game that he owns. The ‘Venkatesh Iyer Game Plan’ which is an aggressive intent. He is a big presence, a tall man, plays the game with a kind of a cavalier streak. It is so important to hold on to that because he might be challenged to change his methods.
“He might not be the most consistent with his flamboyance but I hope he remains the Venkatesh Iyer we have seen so far. He has got a big future in this game and he is a very intelligent man. I thank him for all his efforts he was a big catalyst for our turnaround this season.”
McCullum said that the break in the season came at the right time for KKR as they could regroup from the dismal start they had to the season.
“The break came at a right time for us, it is difficult to keep your composure when the results are going against you. We had just two wins in seven games so the break came at a good time. We had some conversations in those months with some guys to smooth out some rough edges,” said McCullum.
“Always felt that our intent needed to increase to put pressure back on the opposition. I can’t speak highly enough about our top four Indian batters what they achieved during the second half of the tournament. It takes guts to play the way they did and courage to trust the way that we were asking them to play. They were absolutely fantastic and a massive reason we had such a huge chance at winning this competition,” he said.
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