Confident he’ll come alright – McCullum on Morgan’s form
KKR had coach Brendon McCullum admitted the team expects more runs from captain Eoin Morgan but stressed he isn’t too concerned because of the lack of from. Kolkata Knight Riders slipped to their seventh defeat – losing against Punjab Kings by five wickets – to make things tricky for their playoff chances.
Morgan has scored 109 runs in 11 innings so far in IPL 2021 at an average of 10.98 and a strike rate of 100.92. While there have been several instances of franchises changing their captains because of lack of runs, KKR have stressed that Morgan will stay on the role. McCullum felt Morgan has “captained the side brilliantly” while some of the other factors too have been working for the KKR captain. The fact that the franchise has England analyst Nathan Leamon working with Morgan means KKR cannot afford a captaincy change and want that relationship to continue till the end of the tournament.
“He’s one of our senior players. He’s one of our international batters and in his own head he would have loved to contribute more runs,” McCullum said. “I think he’s captained the side really well. But look, you want some more runs from him there’s no doubt in there. You need runs from your overseas players and you particularly need in those key spots as well. I am confident he will come alright. Some guys are really going well.”
The injury to Andre Russell and Morgan’s form forced KKR to strengthen their batting against PBKS and, in hindsight, the decision to have only four frontline bowlers backfired. “We’ve got several options,” McCullum pointed out. “You make certain calls when you are a coach which you got to go on a gut feel as well. (Tim) Seifert has been doing really well when he played for TKR in CPL, he did really well in the middle order. We certainly felt we needed to strengthen the middle order a little bit. We got a good start and that meant we shuffled him behind Morgan and DK.
“When you take out Russell, it’s always difficult to balance your side. We got home in Sharjah but we felt a batter short. We felt if we are able to play the extra batter, we can utilise the bowling of Venkatesh Iyer and Rana, who is a very cagey bowler. When you take one of your big players out, who happens to be an allrounder, you always have that delicate balance to try and balance your side. You have to either go with your batting strong or bowling strong. In hindsight, when we got 160-odd, it would have been nice to have another bowler.”
KKR, who have ten points from 12 matches, now need to win their next two matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals and hope some other results go their way as well.