Mumbai, May 10: Kolkata Knight Riders won the match against Mumbai Indians on Monday (May 9) to stay alive in the IPL 2022 but despite the victory they KKR invited all-round criticism, notably from former India captain and coach Ravi Shastri.
The inclusion of Pat Cummins and this match-winning performance against MI led Shastri and even the fans to criticise KKR captain Shreyas Iyer and coach Brendon McCullum for omitting the Australian in earlier matches.
Cummins had joined the KKR after Australia’s tour to Pakistan last month and made an immediate impression against Mumbai Indians. He took 2 for 49 and then struck an unbeaten 56, the quickest fifty in the IPL 2022, to guide KKR to a stunning win.
However, after that effort Cummins struggled to hold on to his own in the IPL 2022 as his graph gradually went down. Cummins went for 0/51 against Delhi Capitals, 1/40 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, 1/50 against Rajasthan Royals without making much contribution with the bat either.
Hence, Cummins was benched for the next few matches before coming back for the match against Mumbai. He again had fine outing against the five-time champions, taking three wickets conceding a mere 22 runs.
Shastri expressed his surprise over the omission of Cummins, the world’s best bowler in all formats at the moment and also the captain of Australia in Test cricket.
“Fortunate that they played Cummins today. I don’t what he has been doing warming the benches all this time. He is the Australia captain, a world class bowler and here KKR had benched him,” said Shastri in a veiled criticism of KKR captain Shreyas Iyer and coach McCullum.
The fans also did not forgive Shreyas for telling that KKR CEO Venky Mysore is involved in team selection.
“It's really difficult (making changes to the playing 11 and informing the players). I was also in that position once when I started playing IPL. We discuss with the coaches, CEO is also involved in team selection, Bas goes to the players and tells them if they're not playing. All of them are very supportive of the decision-making,” said Shreyas in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“The way they turn up to the ground, each and every individual in the playing XI, it's something to be proud of as a captain. The way we played with high spirits and a good vibe, I'm proud of it. The win was comprehensive. The players were charged up to win the game.
“The previous games have not been great for us. It plays on your mind when you're on the losing side. I'm not satisfied but I want to keep up with the same momentum to come back strong in the other games,” added Shreyas.
The mention of CEO also raised in anger among KKR fans as many asked how an administrative official can involve in deciding the team selection for a match, even if he has the power to run the franchise.
At present, KKR have 10 points from matches and they need to win the remaining two games and reach 14 points to maintain the slender chances to qualify for the playoffs. Kolkata will next face Sunrisers Hyderabad in a crucial match on Saturday (May 14).