The IPL 2008 was inaugurated with much fanfare and it needed something big in the very first match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders to announce its arrival in a big way and that’s when Brendon McCullum decided to come to the party.
McCullum smashed the first-ever score of over 150 in T20 cricket, giving the IPL much-needed eyeballs and media coverage and establishing it firmly as the best T20 league in the world. He made 158* in just 73 deliveries. McCullum hit 13 sixes and 10 boundaries in his innings that took KKR to 222/3.
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Recalling that innings, McCullum, who is now the head coach of the KKR franchise and will ensure they do well in the upcoming IPL 2020 in the UAE, which begins form September 19, spoke about his feelings during that innings and his conversation with captain Sourav Ganguly and co-owner Shah Rukh Khan.
“I was just a young kid back then, so I was so in awe of Shah Rukh Khan who was such a megastar. 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 said to me that night,” McCullum said in an interview with the KKR website.
“Dada 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,” he said.
McCullum also spoke about what team owner Shah Rukh Khan told him and how now the time is to give back to the team that gave him such a huge platform.
“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 the 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,” McCullum said.
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The Kolkata Knight Riders have won the IPL twice in 2012 and 2014, but their results in recent editions have not been desirable. McCullum, along with captain Dinesh Karthik will hope to win another trophy for the Bengal based franchise.
“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 added.