Kolkata Knight Riders’ star recruit Pat Cummins is happy that he does not have to bowl to Brendon McCullum anymore with the Kiwi great now heading the coaching staff of the franchise.
McCullum, who set the inaugural IPL on fire with a spectacular 158 not out 12 years ago, is back at KKR as the chief coach, while the Australian fast bowler is also returning to his old franchise after 2014.
“The first thing that I am really excited about is that I don’t have to bowl to him (McCullum) anymore! He was one of the best and most feared hitters I have come up against in my career,” Cummins was quoted as saying by KKR website.
Cummins, who is serving room-quarantine following his return from the limited overs series in England, said he always admired the former New Zealand captain’s aggressive approach.
“It can be the first ball of the match and he might be hitting over your head for a six! So, I am happy that he is in my team as a coach and that I don’t have to bowl to him. He is someone I really admire for his fire.”
Fresh from guiding Trinbago Knight Riders to their title triumph in Caribbean Premier League, McCullum will take over as the KKR coach in the 13th edition of the T20 tournament underway in the UAE.
“Whether it was his stint as the captain of the New Zealand team or his approach in the IPL clashes, I just love the way he goes about it. He really wants to put on the show and take the game on,” Cummins said.
Cummins became the most expensive foreign buy in IPL history in last year’s auction after KKR picked him for Rs 15.5 crore.
The world number one Test bowler will spearhead KKR’s pace attack which will also have talented Indian youngsters like Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna and Sandeep Warrier.
Nagarkoti will return to action after a lengthy injury lay-off for two seasons and Cummins said he would tell him to “be patient”.
“It is really an easy thing to say and think of but an 18-year-old missing games is actually a very hard thing to live with. You just need to have the trust that you might miss a season or two at the start of your career but you might end up playing till the age of 36 or 37, as opposed to 31 or 32,” said Cummins.
“Everything that you do during this time, sets up the foundation block for a long and healthy career. Even when I was not playing, I used to hang out with my teammates. 90% of the time I love cricket because I can hang out with my mates.”
For an out-and-out pacer who can swing the new white ball, powerplay could be the ideal time for him but Cummins said he would look to bowl at any time of the match.
“The thing I love about T20 cricket is it’s ultra-attacking, or at the death, it’s ultra-defensive. There is no middle ground. So, in T20 cricket, if you are an all-out bowler, you get to bowl any time of the match. That’s why I love the format,” he signed off.