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There were times when KKR were paralysed by fear: McCullum

‘We are going to try and entertain and take the opposition on. There were sometimes throughout the season when I just felt we were being paralysed a little bit by fear.’

Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum admitted his side was ‘paralysed a little bit by fear’ during the first phase of IPL 2021 in India which was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pace bowler Sandeep Warrier tested positive for COVID-19 in May in the middle of the IPL, which was eventually postponed.

The two-time IPL champions had a below-par showing in the first leg of IPL, managing just two wins out of seven games to be placed seventh in the standings.

McCullum said KKR will need to hit the ground running in the second leg of IPL, which starts in the UAE on September 19. The Eoin Morgan-led side will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in Abu Dhabi on September 20.

“In regards to the tournament which is upcoming (second leg of IPL), we can end it right. We can take the game on and we are in a situation where we need things to go our way. We need to hit the ground running, challenge one another privately, support one another publicly and try and get the best out of one another in the next 4-5 weeks. Who knows where we can go with this,” McCullum told KKR’s official website.

“Everyone who supports KKR knows exactly the type of cricket they are going to play. We are going to try and entertain and take the opposition on. There were sometimes throughout the season when I just felt we were being paralysed a little bit by fear.”

Former New Zealand captain McCullum called on the KKR’s players to adopt a ‘braver’ style of play in the UAE, while hoping the team is able to respond to his style of coaching.

“I wasn’t able to free the guys up enough to understand that and that’s sort of a challenge for me. But it is also a good challenge for the guys as well that they need to push the envelope of their own thinking as well. Hopefully we will be able to strip away a bit of the angst which had built up in the first part of the season, just go out there and try and enjoy ourselves. That’s the ambition that I have got for the franchise and hence why I am unapologetic and unrelenting in my belief that we need to play a braver style of play.”

“When we left India (after IPL was postponed due to COVID-19 in May), I think everyone understood me as a coach on how I want our team to play. I am unapologetic about that as well because my job is to try and build something at KKR that is going to last far longer than I am going to last for the franchise,” he added.

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