CricketLounge Talk

An Open Letter To KKR’s Captain Eoin Morgan

Dear Captain Morgan,

Man, this feels like an overwhelming catharsis of words that I am about to pen down. It feels as if a burden is going to come off my chest.

Honestly, I would never love to see you in the World Cup not because I pray ill for you but you will be in the colours of my opposition and the little captaining brain that you have is too menacing to be on any other side than your own.

However, that is the beauty of cricket, the beauty of franchise cricket and most importantly, IPL. They bring players close to you who are supposed to be your biggest opposition.

Now coming to the cricketing part, when KKR arrived in UAE after a dismal illustration in India, even the biggest hardliners would have not expected such a titanic flip in fortunes. Even with the best of turnarounds, maybe we were looking forward to a shift to the fifth position.

I was just getting my pen ready to scribe that how Kolkata has shown promise in the second half and maybe we can build from that. After all, you grab onto whatever shards and scraps that come your way, because this is a world for the merchants, mammon and most imperatively, a world for the winners. Losers and back-benchers are generally the dreamers, a song that maybe Lennon would have written in his afterlife.

Two games into the second phase and the table simply turned upside down. We were up against the mighty Challengers who have literally left us undone in terrible fashion in the last couple of seasons and our bowlers just spawned rampage. I was excessively happy to witness how you changed the bowlers and how you hit RCB with a freight train by wringing out the best in our spinners.

Another fascinating fact about that display was how you changed your fielding placements that put a massive shackle upon the Challengers and no matter how desperately they tried, they failed. Of course, with due credits to Iyer and Shubman Gill who have been crucial in this extraordinary turnaround, we pulled off the incredible.

Up next was reigning champions, Mumbai Indians and our track record against them was even more woeful than RCB. However, once again your bowling and fielding maneuvers were simply exhilarating to watch and even the mighty Mumbai couldn’t break free from the shackles.

We were just warming up to what would have been a mad transition in the position of power, let’s say a dream run in the making. We were up against Chennai Super Kings in the following game and our opening pair that has been so successful in the last two games, came an early cropper. You couldn’t pull off something remarkable either but the way how Russell and Rana were utilized in the batting order eventually turned to be a game-changer.

However, things didn’t really come easy for us as Gaikwad, Moeen Ali and du Plessis had other plans and we were cruising to a defeat. That is when you showcased the courage of introducing Krishna to the attack who has been downright shoddy and would eventually cost you the match. However, let’s just keep aside the fiasco that unfolded later in the game, he claimed the all-important scalp of du Plessis.

From thereon, Kolkata reeled Chennai back in style and was almost about to walk away with the bragging rights only for Krishna to be unravelled by Jadeja in the 19th over. Bringing Narine in the final over? Let’s just say that I have not seen much bigger gambles than that. I am not saying this because he isn’t a sublime finisher. I am saying this because, in that particular game, he was battered until then. Guess what, he almost pulled off the thriller only for Chahar to spoil the advance of KKR on the last ball.

The momentum was broken and it was hard for us to believe that something further can happen. In the wake of the ashes from the Chennai game, Delhi Capitals was left reeling in agony after a wondrous display of bowling. There were a few tumultuous shifts of momentum towards the end but the decision of sending Narine ahead in the innings sealed the fate of the tie. Another brownie point for you, Captain Morgan.

Another impressive illustration of captaincy almost got us home against Punjab Kings but it wasn’t enough as Rahul Tripathi grassed the effort in the boundary after an extraordinary catch of KL Rahul that was eventually turned down by the third umpire.

You know it is easier to maintain a winning momentum than simply build from scratch when a defeat stalls your juggernaut. It feels as if the day of reckoning is here and all that you would do will have negative repercussions. Sadly, that may happen but you will need the courage to make the impossible happen.

After that defeat to Punjab, it never seemed as if we’re coming back and making it to the playoffs. However, we did and we did that in style with a closely fought victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad and an emphatic display of superiority over Rajasthan Royals.

The fact that we attacked Royals from the very beginning, made it clear that we were in that tie to write Mumbai off.

Fast forward the clock by another couple of days and our next victim was Royal Challengers Bangalore. Another important call that changed the momentum of the game was the preamble of Narine in the fifth position. The hard-hitting West Indian served his purpose and we were just a step away from the finals.

We pulled the bunny out of our hat and left Delhi stunned with an extraordinary bowling discipline sticking resolutely to the line of destruction. However, what was supposed to be a cakewalk eventually turned out into a nightmare. All I am saying is that we could have won more comprehensively. A lot of us have weaker hearts and it is not prudent to test it.

So here we are, from ailing at the rock-bottom of the table to a step away from claiming the throne. I have definitely heard about crazier transitions in history but these kinds of watersheds are rare in cricket.

I know Morgan that it hasn’t been easy for you with the bat. I mean it is simply an eyesore to watch you strut in the middle and simply have zero clue about what is unfolding.

Guess what, these are just downward spirals that are always more predominant than our triumphs. Like the famous Napoleon said, “Glory is fleeting, obscurity is forever.” But then, even in the darkest times, we need a lodestar and for us, the Knight fans, you have been the one behind the wheel.

Of course, McCullum has his fair share of glory but the man who spearheaded this entire revolution on the pitch has been you and captain Morgan, no matter who says what, those subtle changes in the game go a long way.

Maybe, Aragorn didn’t really pull off something incredible in Rohan but that swift move of bringing the army of Dead to the war and that whiplash speech of “Today is not that day” echoed for miles to bring Sauron down on his knees, literally. Similarly, maybe that double-capped visage of yours isn’t something that fans praise much but I am going to tell you this, you are not just a captain for me but you are the Aragorn and Professor Keating of this KKR side who plays a role that is unsung and unseen and yet without it, there will never be another sunrise.

Yours sincerely,

A crazy cricket fan.

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