McCullum not under captaincy pressure: New Zealand coach

May 5th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Port Elizabeth, May 5 (IANS) New Zealand coach Andy Moles is not unduly bothered about Knight Riders’ skipper Brendon McCullum’s poor show in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and said he was confident that his key player for the Twenty20 World Cup in June will soon return to form.
Moles also said he does not think that captaincy is affecting McCullum’s batting.

“It is just a confidence thing. He is a very proud player, combative, who likes to meet things upfront. But so far he has not got in. He has been getting out in the second over at best. He needs to spend a little time in the middle. He is just one innings away from being in form. His form is not a huge concern for me,” Moles told in an interview to iplt20.com

McCullum made a huge impact in the inaugural season, smashing 158 off 73 balls in the first match. But he has been struggling with his form as well as leading the Knight Riders, who are placed at the bottom of the table.

McCullum has logged just 50 runs in seven games with a top-score of 21. Just not good enough for a player, who was supposed to be a star attraction of the tournament.

The Kiwi keeps deflecting all queries about how the pressures of captaincy have weighed down the man.

Moles, who is here in South Africa, as an observer for the Knight Riders, says that he has seen McCullum take apart attacks earlier this season.

Moles is here to observe and learn how the teams are devising their strategies for T20 games and wants to simulate the same for next month’s World T20 in England.

Apparently, he had discussed this with his team’s opener McCullum and asked him if there was anyway he could be part of Knight Riders as an observer to learn how they are devising their plans. It helped as McCullum was named captain, and was able to put in a word.

“Well, I have seen Brendon work very hard. I can’t see the captaincy putting pressure on him at all. He has taken the form loss badly. He is a great cricketer, who wants to do well. He enjoys captaincy and likes to get the best out of the youngsters in the side. I don’t think captaincy is affecting his form,” commented Moles.

According to Moles, McCullum is a man who likes to take things in his stride.

“All I said to him was be true to yourself. Do not change anything. Just go out and play like he usually does. He is two shots away from being up and running,” said Moles.

“He just needs to make sure he keeps his shape when he hits the ball and just needs to ensure that he is still when he is hitting the ball, we were working on that. I told him to stand a bit stiller and keep the shape when he is hitting the ball and he himself is saying that he is hitting the ball better at the end of the game,” said Moles.

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