Brendon McCullum, Abhishek Nayar two good

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) managed to win just two games out of seven in the first half of IPL-14. However, the former champions bounced back strongly in the UAE leg, winning five out of seven matches to qualify for the play-offs. In their last league game, KKR thrashed Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 86 runs in Sharjah on Thursday.

KKR’s mentor David Hussey credited this turnaround to head coach Brendon McCullum’s planning and assistant coach Abhishek Nayar’s training methods.  

“The break did us a world of good. We got to refresh, recharge our batteries, re-plan and come to Abu Dhabi where we all met. And Abhishek Nayar did a great training session; all the boys got a lot of volume and got ready to go,” Hussey said during the post-match virtual press conference on Thursday.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ head coach Brendon McCullum (right) with assistant coach Abhishek Nayar

India’s 2018 U-19 World Cup-winning team members—opener Shubman Gill (56 off 44 balls) and pacer Shivam Mavi (4-21)—made it a one-sided affair. Batting sensation Venkatesh Iyer (35-ball 38) and pacer Lockie Ferguson (3-18) also played a vital roles. Hussey explained how McCullum boosted the confidence of the KKR players.

“I think with Brendon, he’s so cool and so calm that he’s got this plan and this vision for this team to go forward and he believes in every player to play at their best. What he does is he makes everybody feel that they are the most important person in the team. Brendon should take a lot of credit for the way everybody’s playing here tonight [Thursday],” said Hussey.  

David Hussey

After 14 games, KKR are placed fourth in the points table with a net run rate of 0.587. Better still, KKR’s key all-rounder Andre Russell is set to make a comeback, having recovered from a hamstring injury.  

“He [Russell] had a fitness test yesterday [Wednesday], and I think he’s just maybe a game away. So, I think he’d be pushing hard over the next few days to get back in for the final [playoffs], which will be a huge boost for us,” Hussey added.

Also read: Nathan Coulter-Nile: I got wickets because others applied pressure

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