By Sahil Kohli
Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], December 6 (ANI): Former New Zealand skipper and current England Test coach Brendon McCullum lauded senior Indian stars Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for their performances in the ICC Cricket World Cup and expressed excitement about duelling against these two heavyweights during England’s tour of India next year.
McCullum was in Bengaluru for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Innovation Lab’s Leader’s Meet: India which was held last week and addressed a convergence of global sporting stakeholders.
“Yeah. I like his captaincy (Rohit Sharma’s captaincy). I think his captaincy is bold. He takes risks and he takes the game on. And when you add the talent base of India to these kinds of tactics, then he can achieve very good things. He has been a great leader for not just India but for Mumbai Indians over the years as well,” said McCullum to ANI about Rohit’s captaincy.
Speaking about Virat, McCullum said that Virat was always billed as a future superstar since his early days as a cricketer and he has lived upto that hype and dealt with the hopes and dreams of over a billion people over the years.
“Well, obviously Virat, I know him pretty well from my time at RCB and also playing against him. So look, he was always touted as a future superstar and he has lived up to, he has dealt with the hopes and the dreams of over a billion people and he has been able to perform on the big stage. He deserves every accolade that he gets,” said McCullum.
McCullum is excited for the tour to India as England’s Test coach, saying that it would be an amazing challenge for their side against a team that is unmatched in their home territory.
“Looking forward to duelling with both those two (Rohit and Virat) and all the other guys come the Indian tour in January, February, March. It is going to be a tour which will be very tough, but a tour that we are really looking forward to. The opportunity to take on the best team in their own conditions in the world and see where we are at as a side,” said McCullum.
The five-match Test series between India and England will kickstart on January 25 next year with the first Test in Hyderabad. The fifth and final Test will be held in Dharamshala and series will conclude on March 11.
Speaking about whether England’s attacking style of cricket, also known as ‘Bazball’ among the cricket fraternity, will be sustainable in India’s mostly spin-friendly conditions, McCullum said that one does not need to think too much as the team is playing this way as they love cricket and are trying to be as good at it as possible.
“I do not know (about the attacking game being sustainable). I do not think we need to think too deeply about it in the end. I think we are playing the game because we love cricket and you want to try and be as good at cricket as much you possibly can. And during the time that you are in the chair (as a coach), you want to make sure you enjoy it. You should not wait till the end of your career to have enjoyed it,” said McCullum.
The coach said that the team is lucky to have had some immediate success in Test cricket with him and skipper Ben Stokes at the helm and some players have unlocked their potential over the last 18 months or so.
“So we are very lucky that we have had some immediate success in the time that we have been there playing this style of Cricket, which gives guys the greatest amount of satisfaction. I do not think it is a ceiling for us, but we will find out in the next little while. But whatever happens, I think we have seen some guys sort of unlock their potential in the last 18 months or so. And that is what the job is as a leader, is to get the most out of people who you are in charge of and done that for a fair few,” he added.
About the Leaders Meet summit, McCullum said that it was fabulous to rub shoulders with various top leaders in sports.
“That has been good. I has been really cool, actually. I have been invited here to come and share some of my stories around leadership, but the opportunity to rub shoulders with other leaders and have some, I guess, shared experiences is great. What you are after as a leader, you always going to grow and evolve, and this week has been fabulous,” said McCullum.
The event was an intersection between sports and business, that aims to generate insights, ideas, methodologies, and products in order to shape the future of sports.
The RCB Innovation Lab’s Leader’s Meet witnessed insightful discussions in the presence of prominent figures from the sports world such as BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah, Will Brass (Chief Commercial Officer of the English Premier League), Ellie Norman (Chief Communications Officer of Manchester United), and Charlotte Burr (Director of Strategy, Corporate Development & Digital, FIFA).
Notably, the summit featured the Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand, Brendon McCullum (former New Zealand skipper and current head coach of England’s Test team), and Olympic Gold Medal Winner and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, Italian International Football icon & World Cup Winner 2006 Alessandro Del Piero, G20 Sherpa – India and Ex – CEO of NITI Aayog, Government of India Amitabh Kant among many other notable dignitaries. (ANI)