Brendon McCullum, the Kolkata Knight Riders head coach, has asked his players to take a leaf of Prithvi Shaw’s book on batting at the top and also indicated that changes loom for their next game after the loss to the Delhi Capitals.
While KKR scraped to post a total of 154, on Thursday in Ahmedabad, Prithvi Shaw batted like a bullet train to help Delhi gun down the target. The Capitals opener smashed 82 runs off 41 balls, starting off with a 6-boundary over from Shivam Mavi.
On the other hand, the KKR openers, Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana, who had a glistening start, have now once again batted below the expectations of Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan. The top three of Gill, Rana, and Rahul Tripathi scored 77 runs combined from 67 balls leaving fewer balls and massive pressure on the middle-order, which is “very, very disappointing” for the coach.
“It’s very, very disappointing. I think as a player, you ask to be given freedom and confidence and loyalty when it comes to selection, to go out there and take the game on and try and be aggressive… and to try and make things happen for your team.
“That’s the style of play which both myself and the captain [Eoin Morgan] have asked of our players. But unfortunately we’re not quite getting that. We’re certainly not getting it in the abundance that we need,” Brendon McCullum said in the press conference.
“What we saw from Prithvi Shaw tonight was the perfect template of how we want to play. You’re not always going to be able to hit every ball for four or six, but you can have the intent to do so, particularly when you’re given a free licence.
“It’s very difficult if you don’t play shots to score runs, and unfortunately tonight we didn’t play enough shots. It’s become a bit of a theme,” he added.
We’re going to have to make some changes for sure: Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum has hinted at changes in batters, and not just their positions, after the loss to Delhi, more so in reference with Rana and Gill as both openers have struggled to provide quick starts to the side.
On the bench, they have Venkatesh Iyer, Karun Nair, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert, and Gurkeerat Singh Mann at their disposal for the top-order slot.
“A saying that I’ve used throughout my career is that ‘If you can’t change a man, change the man.’ So we’ll probably have to make some changes and try and bring in some fresh personnel who will hopefully take the game on a bit more.
“It’s incredibly disappointing because I’ve asked time and time again for us to be more aggressive and more expressive and take the game on, and we continue to not do it. So we’re going to have to make some changes for sure,” Brendon McCullum maintained.
With just 2 wins in 7 matches, Eoin Morgan’s side’s chances of making the playoffs seem bleak. They will next face the in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday.