Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum has opened up for the first time about the release of two of their star players – Shubman Gill and Pat Cummins.
KKR, who lost the final to CSK last season, have retained Andre Russell (INR 12 crore), Varun Chakravarthy (INR 8 crore), Venkatesh Iyer (INR 8 crore) and Sunil Narine (INR 6 crore) ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction.
Shubman Gill and Pat Cummins were their two key players but the franchise opted to release them while retaining others. Gill has already been signed by the Ahmedabad franchise while Cummins will be available to be bought in the auction.
Brendon McCullum admitted that it was “disappointing” to lose the young Indian opener. However, he pointed out that they needed to make some hard choices while deciding the retentions.
“You need to plan as you’re going to lose a lot of players. It was disappointing to lose Shubman Gill. But that’s the way life is sometimes and we will be well prepared for the upcoming auction,” McCullum said on a live session for KKR.
Gill, who was bought for INR 1.8 crore in IPL 2018 auction, scored 1,417 runs in 58 matches during his 4 seasons at KKR at an average of 31 and strike rate of 123. Gill’s strike rate of below 120 last season was tacitly condemned by coach McCullum and captain Morgan during the first half of the season.
Pat Cummins, who was bought for 15.5 crore in IPL 2020 auction, picked 21 wickets in 21 matches in the last two seasons for KKR. McCullum asserted that Cummins’s contribution to the team was much more than what the statistics reflect.
“I think Pat Cummins was a pretty good buy. While some would say he did not perform as he should have, I disagree. He was brilliant across disciplines without statistically being a really high achiever. You are prepared to go hard for guys like him,” the Kiwi said.
On the four retentions of KKR, coach McCullum said: “Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have been proven campaigners for a decade. We have all seen what Varun Chakravarthy is capable of in the last two seasons. Venkatesh Iyer was probably the story of the second half of IPL 2021.”
The mega-auction is scheduled for February 12 and 13 and the tournament is likely to start on March 27.