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Brendon expected to quit, but not now

It’s unlikely that Brendon McCullum will make any further comment on the Kolkata Knight Riders’ captaincy, while IPL 2009 is in progress, but it’s expected that he’ll eventually keep his word and walk away from the top job.

“Brendon is an honourable person and once he has said that he’ll leave the captaincy if the team doesn’t make the semi-finals, then nobody should disbelieve him... In any case, Brendon had 2010 in mind, not quitting while this edition was on,” a key member of the Knights’ team management told The Telegraph.

Speaking from Johannesburg on the morning after it was confirmed that the Knights wouldn’t get beyond the league stage, the gentleman added: “To be honest, the issue just hasn’t come up for discussion... Moreover, given the state we’re in, a change at the top won’t do wonders in the three matches that remain. Perhaps, we’ve been done in by a spell of black magic...”

McCullum, it may be recalled, had talked of stepping aside after losing to the Mumbai Indians for the first time in IPL 2009, in Port Elizabeth. That was some weeks ago, when the Knights could still have turned things around.

Alas, the wait for one spark of brilliance or a stunning match-winning effort continues...

Significantly, principal owner Shah Rukh Khan, who endorsed John Buchanan’s move to elevate McCullum (and humiliate Sourav Ganguly), hasn’t had a one-on-one with the New Zealander on the captaincy issue.

McCullum is the Black Caps’ vice-captain and it’s to be seen whether his handling of the Knights impacts on his getting to lead New Zealand at some point in the future.

His CV, however, has definitely lost some of its sheen.

“Shah Rukh hasn’t spoken exclusively to Brendon... His last message to the team was that the players should, at least, enjoy their cricket now that the next stage is beyond us... I doubt if Shah Rukh will discuss anything major while we’re still in South Africa,” the same key management member pointed out.

The gentleman confirmed that the team didn’t have an official vice-captain, though Brad Hodge has been projected as one.

Well, so much for a franchise whose head of cricket operations, Buchanan, made such a song and dance of having as many as five captains/leaders in the squad!

Many, in fact, are wondering why Hodge (rated so highly by Buchanan) isn’t in Australia’s T20 line-up. After all, if somebody is high on class, then he should first be playing for his country.

Hodge’s last appearance for Australia, in any form, was 12 months ago. That too in a stand-in capacity.

Meanwhile, Wednesday was a day off for the Knights. The McCullums will train on Thursday, in the lead-up to Saturday’s match against the Deccan Chargers.

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