The Indian Premier League has been the standard-bearer for cricket’s T20 tournaments around the world ever since Brendon McCullum blasted his way to an epic 158* on the opening night for Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore. In response, the hosts (who opened the run-chase with Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer) could only manage little more than 50% of what the former New Zealand captain scored at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on that April night in 2008.
Cricket has never been the same since.
“I don’t remember many reactions in detail, but what I do remember is what Sourav Ganguly said to me that night,” current KKR head coach McCullum told Knights Unplugged on www.kkr.in.
“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.’”
McCullum said he is generally not a nervous guy before a game, but on that occasion it was different.
“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.
If people had their doubts about the longevity of the IPL, then McCullum’s blistering knock in the competition’s very first match laid them all to rest.