Mumbai: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) coach Brendon McCullum said Friday their new skipper Shreyas Iyer has all the qualities to be the franchise’s ‘player of the decade’. Shreyas Iyer led the led Delhi Capitals to their maiden IPL final in 2020. He was snapped by KKR for Rs 12.25 crore after aggressive bidding and was subsequently made skipper of the two-time former champions.
“He’s (Shreyas) a great buy. He could be the franchise player for KKR for the best part of the decade. We’ve got to start somewhere and that’s tomorrow,” the New Zealand great said on the eve of their IPL-15 opening match against defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
“He’s (Shreyas) already incredibly well-respected around the world for what his game is about and what he’s been able to achieve. His best years are certainly in front of him. I think he’s got the potential to be an absolute superstar of the game. So I can’t wait to work with him,” McCullum stated.
Shreyas has been in the form of his life. In the recent T20 series against Sri Lanka he remained unbeaten in three matches. He scored 57, 74 and 73 and above all was not dismissed a single time during the three innings. He was adjudged player of the series in India’s 3-0 rout.
The Kiwi legend is excited that their new skipper shares the same sort of attacking mindset he had during his playing days. McCullum feels that this quality would take the team all the way.
“We both share a common value of how we like to see the game played. It is all about getting a group of guys together, painting a vision and get the guys play the game positively, and try and embrace those who are around you,” McCullum said.
“We all will go on a journey together to try and achieve something not just special in terms of results but also in terms of the investment, which hopefully we’re going to talk about for many years to come. So I’m really, really excited to work with Shreyas,” McCullum added.
KKR’s pace bowling department has got a big setback as New Zealand pacer Tim Southee won’t be available against CSK. The team are already missing their star Australian pacer Pat Cummins. He is unavailable for the first five matches due to national commitments.
“Southee is not available for the first match unfortunately, just a little delayed with getting over here to India. So, he won’t be available for the first match,” MCCullum said.
In absence of the duo, KKR will bank on Umesh Yadav and Shivam Mavi to give early breakthroughs. “We would probably go with more of a heavy Indian local players seam bowling lineup,” McCullum pointed out.
“Umesh was a really good pickup for us in the auction. His ability to swing the ball up front, and he’s also a wicket-taker too. His statistics in the power play are really, really good. And that’s what we look to try and use him. So hopefully, between him and the likes of Shivam we will get a good attack going,” the Kiwi pointed out.
Asked about Ravindra Jadeja leading defending champions CSK for the first time after Mahendra Singh Dhoni relinquished captaincy, McCullum said: “”Not really my problem… I know Jadeja pretty well. He plays the game pretty aggressively and he’s going to have MS on the side. So look, I’m sure he’ll do an excellent job.”