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Why Brendon McCullum’s 9000 T20 runs ought to be celebrated?
In the realm of T20s, striking a quick-fire cameo isn’t an out of the world achievement. It happens all the time. It’s normalcy on any given day. Quite like developing cold upon consuming one ice-cream too many. So when Brendon McCullum- ball basher, bowler smasher, record breaker, frequent six-hitter- clubbed a characteristically gritty 43 off just 27 in his maiden IPL 2018 effort, it wasn’t much of a news.
It was what anyone would’ve expected from McCullum. It is what his IPL captain, Kohli would’ve expected on any normal day.
But when the same bloke goes on to register his 9000th T20 run, it’s something different, apart from indicating the magnitude of McCullum’s reach in the game.
It brings forth a reason for elaborate celebration. It’s Brendon McCullum, after all. And 9000 runs in a format that in physiological lexicon finishes quicker than batting an eyelid anoints the right-hander a place among giants of the game. There’s only Chris Gayle ahead of the former Kiwi captain and tons and tons of arresting talents behind.
But what is implicit to McCullum’s consistent rise to batting prominence in T20s aren’t those big blows alone. We know him for his voracious appetite for destruction. We’ve even seen flairs of T20 ebullience in the way McCullum has structured some of his Test innings. How else would you judge his greatest 5-day knock of 302 against India? 154 of his 302 runs came off boundaries and sixes. You couldn’t have imagined a Dravid, Chanderpaul, Cook, Root or those guys fashion such elaborate triumphs weaving the quintessential T20 boisterousness, would you?
Few cricketers live so truly to the classic cricketing adage- you live by the sword; you die by the sword- and still seem so unflustered by the dangers of striking boldly. That too, from ball one. If you were a witness to the only face-saving inning in RCB’s IPL loss to KKR recently, you would’ve seen the intent of McCullum from ball one.
First ball, a fuller one on the legs- and showed the way to the midwicket boundary. Next up he dances down the track and misses. Does that again and misses and soon, a thundering six follows next up when he faces an over.
That is McCullum for you. Pure intent. Unrelenting focus. Unwavering passion to score.
No other player apart from McCullum has changed fortunes of a T20 contest so easily no other player since his arrival may. You’ll have bigger run scorers but the maddening passion with which McCullum allies stroke-making with daredevilry may never lose its sheen, long after he files his T20 blade inside the case.
Even as the minefield is replete with burgeoning talents- Munro, Fakhar Zaman, Evin Lewis- we may never see another Brendon McCullum. Thankfully, we still have him around, looking fit and dandy as a ripe peach that’s only just fallen from the tree. Can he last another two to three cricketing seasons? If he does, we can be sure: the fireworks will continue.