Indian Premier League 2009 April 17, 2009

McCullum replaces Ganguly as Kolkata captain

Cricinfo staff

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum will lead the Kolkata Knight Riders for the second season of the IPL, which begins on Saturday in South Africa. He has replaced former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who led Kolkata during the first season of the IPL.

Ganguly said he was "okay" with the decision. "I'll play as an ordinary player and support McCullum in whatever way I can," he told the Kolkata-based Telegraph. "Shah Rukh has spoken to me and he's given Buchanan everything he wanted, including the captain, and stated that there could now be no excuse for not performing."

The move has cleared some doubt regarding the multiple-captain theory proposed by Kolkata coach John Buchanan. The team had been using different captains in each of their practice games in South Africa, but it is now clear the strategy has been done away with.

"Prior to coming here there was obviously some speculation about the multi-captains," Buchanan said. "We've appointed Brendon, who is very happy about it. He has the support of Sourav Ganguly, Brad Hodge and Chris Gayle as senior members and obviously Matthew Mott as team coach."

McCullum will also keep wicket and open the batting. "I'm immensely proud to have been named Kolkata Knight Riders captain. It's a tremendous honour," he said."We've got some quality players in our line-up and I will be looking to use the skills and expertise of Sourav, Brad and Chris throughout the tournament.

"I don't know how it looks from the outside, but Sourav has been extremely supportive of my role in Kolkata Knight Riders, right from the inaugural season," McCullum wrote in his column for Times of India. "He is an icon who has always had a way with younger players and it is wonderful to watch how they respond and react to him. I am sure that Sourav will be one of the chief motivators for the youngsters in the group this year as well.

"As a unit, our expectations from him are high and we feel that he will now be able to express himself more freely as a batsman and of course he will be making huge inputs in planning and ideating."

Buchanan said the decision was taken in the best interests of the team. "I'm sure there'll be the odd objection to it, but hopefully the fans will understand that what we are trying to do is the best for them, the best for the franchise and the best for Sourav. We don't make these decisions lightly."

Ganguly is the third captain to have lost the captaincy after the IPL's first season. VVS Laxman was the first to go when the Deccan Chargers appointed Adam Gilchrist to lead the side, followed by Rahul Dravid making way for Kevin Pietersen at the helm for the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Kolkata will play their first game against Deccan on Sunday.

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