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IPL 2021 | Venkatesh Iyer a big catalyst for our turnaround, says coach Brendon McCullum

Knight Riders head coach McCullum hopes the opener maintains his cavalier approach

Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum credited opening batter Venkatesh Iyer for being the catalyst for the side’s turnaround from a poor start to its IPL campaign.

“Venkatesh is an intelligent man with an enormous future. He was a big catalyst for our turnaround this season,” McCullum stated in the post-match media conference.

McCullum, speaking after KKR lost to Chennai Super Kings in the final, implored Venkatesh not to change his attacking style of batting.

“It was a matter of bringing the Venkatesh Iyer game plan to the table — which is aggressive intent. He plays the game with a cavalier streak. It’s very important that he sticks to this method. He will be challenged to change, because he might not be the most consistent batter due to his flamboyance. But I hope he remains the Venkatesh Iyer we’ve seen so far,” McCullum said.

On not picking West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell in the playing eleven, McCullum said, “Andre had a hamstring tear earlier in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. But there was still a risk there; a risk I felt we couldn’t afford to take in a final.”

He sympathised with KKR skipper Eoin Morgan, who struggled for form with the bat. “It was a unique situation. Morgan captained KKR as well as any captain I’ve seen. We tried to slot him in a batting position where he has been so successful — in the last five overs of the innings. Unfortunately, the runs weren’t there for him.”

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