Hope to perform in playoffs: McCullum

KKR batsman also talks about how faster tracks will help him get back to his best

Pune 20 May 2012
The Kolkata Knight Riders had already qualified for the playoffs even before they played their last league match of IPL 2012, in Pune. The team wanted to go into the knockouts with the confidence of a big win behind them. That’s exactly what the players provided – a comprehensive 34-run victory over the Pune Warriors India.

After the match, spoke to the KKR opener, Brendon McCullum. The Kiwi, who is known for his big hitting, batted with a changed approach this season, scoring his runs more sedately. McCullum put it down to the conditions and the slowness in the tracks. He hoped the team encounters a few fast pitches in the playoffs for him to show his pyrotechnics with the bat. The wicketkeeper-batsman also spoke about the experience of keeping wickets to the mystery bowler Sunil Narine and admitted he’d rather ‘keep to him than face him.

A wonderful way to go into the playoffs.

Yes, it is. This was a tough game as it was difficult to bat on this track. I thought Shakib Al Hasan played extremely well to give us some momentum in the middle overs and take us to a score, which proved too much to get on such a wicket.

Can we expect to see one of those trademark Brendon McCullum blistering knocks in the playoffs?

I hope so. The conditions what I play here in are definitely very different from the ones I’m used to back home. But I’ve got to try and find a way to make some contribution. I’d love to go out there and bat like Chris Gayle, but that’s not happening. Hence, I have to change my style for the sake of the team. I’ve been very fortunate to form a good opening pair with Gauti [Gautam Gambhir]. Hopefully, we come across some faster wickets in the playoffs and the final, if we make it that far.

How difficult is it to alter your game depending on the conditions?

It is very difficult, but it’s a demand that modern-day cricketers have to fulfil. There are some wickets that suit free-flowing batsmen and I haven’t come across too many of those this season. Having said that, ultimately, what matters is the result going our way. If we win games by nicking and nudging around, so be it.

What are your thoughts on Sunil Narine, having kept to him right through the tournament?

He’s a genius and an incredible bowler. He’s made a huge impact on this tournament so far and he’s got a massive future in front of him. Sunil’s been outstanding for us thus far and he’s got to continue that if we’re to go all the way in this tournament.

What’s the most difficult thing about keeping to him?

Trying to pick which way the ball is going to spin is definitely the hardest. At times, you see the ball, but you really don’t know what’s going on. You just try and make sure you don’t get too many wrong.

Do you prefer ‘keeping to him or facing him as a batsman?

I definitely prefer keeping to him. You get the extra couple of yards to see the ball. I’m really privileged to get the opportunity to keep to him. I’ll be facing him when we [New Zealand] play the West Indies after the IPL. That’s going to be interesting.
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