On April 18, 2008, Brendon McCullum kicked off Indian Premier League’s (IPL) inaugural season in the best way possible. McCullum registered the highest T20 score with an unbeaten 158 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against Rahul Dravid-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). 12 years later, the former New Zealand skipper recalls the iconic innings and what followed.
“Dada said, ‘Your life is changed forever’, and I didn’t quite know what he meant at the time, but (in hindsight), I 100% agree with him. Shah Rukh (Khan), in the months which followed or the days and the weeks and the months which followed, he said. ‘you’ll always be with the Knight Riders.’
.@Bazmccullum reminisces about a watershed moment for cricket with his blistering 158 in the first-ever IPL game!
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) April 17, 2020
“There were times when I was with KKR, and then I got released, but we always finished on really good terms. I was always very grateful, and thankful for the opportunity that the franchise had provided for me. So when an opportunity arose again (for the role of head coach), I thought: ‘Well, Shah Rukh did say to me ‘You’ll always be very involved with KKR’ and this, I guess, is another opportunity’, the 38-year-old explosive batsman said.
The Kiwi batsman revealed that he was nervous before his record-breaking innings as millions of eyeballs were glued to the mega event.
“Well, I never really got too nervous throughout my cricket career, but on that occasion, I’ll admit I was very nervous. I think none of us really knew what this tournament (the IPL) was going to be like. We all loved the idea of it, we loved the fanfare, but all the eyeballs of the cricketing world got turned towards Bangalore that night.
“I feel so lucky and privileged to have had the opportunity (to be a part of that spectacle). You talk about sliding doors, and moments in your careers and in lives. That night, my life changed completely in the space of those three hours or actually, even an hour-hour and a half.
“It changed my family’s life forever, and I feel very blessed and very humble and very lucky. What I did that night was something I didn’t think I was capable of achieving. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, that’s 100% sure. It was just a surreal moment in time where you just look back and say, ‘How lucky was I?’ he added.
McCullum played 109 IPL matches and scored 2,880 runs at an average of 27.89 including two centuries and 13 half-centuries.
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