When Indian Premier League got of the ground in 2008, no one really knew how big the tournament would go on to become. Everyone was nervous about the response it would get from the fans. T20 cricket had become quite popular after India’s 2007 T20 World Cup glory but a league format in cricket was being tried for the first time in india.
The tournament needed a powerful start and it came from the bat of a young New Zealander. Brendon Mccullum, who was just 26 year old at the time, made the night his own at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore as he knocked an unbeaten 158 in just 73 deliveries. McCullum innings was adorn with 13 sixes and 10 boundaries that took KKR to 222/3.
The match in the end was a one sided one as the hosts were bundled out for just 82 runs on the board. The swashbuckling batsman, who is now the head coach of the same franchise, revealed in an interview what then KKR captain Sourav Ganguly had said to him.
“I was just a young kid back then, so I was so in awe of Shah Rukh Khan who was such a mega star. I was so out of my depth even just around the superstars in my cricket team, let alone the megastar who owned our cricket team! I don’t remember many reactions in detail, but what I do remember is what Sourav Ganguly told me that night.
Ganguly said, ‘Your life is changed forever’, and I didn’t quite know what he meant at the time, but (in hindsight), I 100% agree with him,” McCullum told KKR’s website.
McCullum also talked about what team owner Shah Rukh Khan told him and how this is a chance for him to give back to the team that gave him so much.
“Shah Rukh, in the months which followed or the days and the weeks, he said. ‘you’ll always be with the Knight Riders.’
“There were times when I was with KKR, and then I got released, but we always finished on really good terms. I was always very grateful, and thankful for the opportunity that the franchise had provided for me. So when an opportunity arose again (for the role of head coach), I thought: ‘Well, Shah Rukh did say to me ‘You’ll always be very involved with KKR’ and this, I guess, is another opportunity.’
“I find them (the entire KKR management) to be such great people, hopefully we can have success for them on the field this year and the years to follow. We’re trying to play a style of cricket which is a great representation of the people of Bengal and also Shah Rukh, Jay (Mehta) and all those involved in the franchise. Hopefully, we will be able to be successful, because I think we’ve got the right team for it as well,” McCullum said.
The Kolkata based franchise has gone on to win the title twice, however their last glory came way back in 2014. The team would hope that McCullum will be able to motivate Dinesh Karthik and his team to a successful season this time around.