Interviews: : Sourav one of the best captains: McCullum

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Old 30-Apr-2008
Interviews: : Sourav one of the best captains: McCullum

When Brendon McCullum left the New Zealand shores a couple of weeks back, he wasn't a household name in India. By the time, he is getting ready to leave India, he has managed to achieve a big fan following in this cricket-crazy nation.

It is this passion of Indian cricket that has struck the Kiwi wicketkeeper, who shot into fame in India with a breathtaking 158 in the IPL opener. "I could not believe so many people shouting for a Franchisee team! The crowd, the passion, the following... India has been an eye-opener for me," McCullum, who will play his last IPL match of the season against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday, told TOI on Saturday.

The Kiwi opener went ga ga over Shah Rukh Khan, the owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, and the skipper of his team Sourav Ganguly. "I had only heard about SRK. Coming here, I could understand what fame actually means...But then, he is such a modest man, you'll never feel overawed by his presence," the Kiwi 'keeper added.

Sourav's ability to inspire the team was also appreciated by McCullum. "Sourav is surely one of the best captains I've played under. Right from the time I came here, I knew my responsibility. The skipper assigned me a job and I tried to do it to the best of my ability," he said.

That's a bit of an understatement as McCullum was the one who single-handedly won the Knight Riders the first game against the Bangalore Royal Challengers. He was on song on Saturday as well against Team Chennai before compatriot Jacob Oram dismissed him to start the Knight Riders' slide.

"It wasn't our day on Saturday...But we learnt our lessons and look to go all guns blazing against Mumbai. I would also like to finish this year's stint with a bang," he said sounding a warning bell for Sachin Tendulkar and Co. But how does he look back at that innings in Bangalore?

"It's kind of surreal. It was a day when everything fell into place. All the shots that I tried came off the middle of the bat," he said, adding that "it would be difficult to replicate that kind of an effort in the future".

Does he know that he has raised the bar for all wicketkeeper-batsmen in the tournament? McCullum, sporting a tatoo on his right forearm, smiles.

"There are quite a few quality 'keepers playing this tournament. So, don't be surprised if somebody else comes up with another knock like that," he said, obviously referring to the likes of Team Hyderabad's Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakkara of Mohali.

McCullum would have loved to carry on his duel for supremacy with these two players, but then, it's time for him to go. And the Kiwi feels the young Wriddhiman Saha, who will do the job in his absence, has it in him to rise to the occasion. "Young Saha is a fine talent. I think he wouldn't let the Knight Riders feel my absence in the tournament," McCullum said, before taking the elevator to his hotel room.

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