McCullum backs India batting prospect Shubman Gill with leadership role


Kolkata Knight Riders coach Brendon McCullum has backed 20-year-old India batsman Shubman Gill as a leader of men.

After leading the scoring for India at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup Gill has been fast-tracked into the senior side making his ODI debut against New Zealand in 2019.

Gill has enjoyed two campaigns in the IPL as a Knight Riders regular, and McCullum has now added the young man to his core leadership group.

“What a talent. [Gill] is going to be a part of our leadership group this year as well, at least in some capacity.

“Even though he is young, I am a big believer that it’s not necessarily true that you having played for a long time makes you a good leader,” McCullum said in an interview with KKR’s official website.

“It’s about you exhibiting the behaviours of a leader. It’s always good to have a cross-section of leadership within your group. To us, Shubman is one of those guys we would look to lean on for some leadership throughout this season.”

McCullum looks to England skipper to support DK

Dinesh Karthik will skipper KKR in their 2020 IPL campaign, but McCullum hopes he will be well supported by senior international professionals including England captain Eoin Morgan.

“The team hasn’t quite got over the line, but I think DK is in that stage in his leadership where he’s almost ready to really mature and to really take ownership of the Knight Riders set up and back his judgement.

“What we tried to do throughout the auction process as well was to provide him with some strong leadership on the field.

“We’ve obviously already got the likes of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, but to have added Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan in particular to that leadership group, and also provide him behind the scenes with some support staff who will be able to assist DK as well.

“I think there’ll be a nice layer of leadership around DK where he’s able to really prosper and touch all of the members of the Kolkata line up to try and get the very best out of themselves.

“I love DK as a person. He’s quite intense at times which I love, we just need to provide him with some support. His passion for the game and his love of people is just infectious.”

The 2020 IPL will get underway in the UAE on 19 September when the Chennai Super Kings meet the defending champion Mumbai Indians in a rematch of the 2019 final.