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Indian Premier League

The Ganguly message that convinced McCullum of the magnitude of IPL 158*

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Brendon McCullum has recalled Sourav Ganguly’s message to him after he scored that trailblazing 158* in the inaugural match of Indian Premier League (IPL).

McCullum ensured the IPL had a grand launch in 2008 when he hammered a historic 73-ball 158* for Kolkata Knight Riders against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The moment has gone down in history as a game-changing knock in every sense, but McCullum, at the time, didn’t realise what he had done.

It was Ganguly, captain of that Kolkata side and McCullum’s opening partner, who drove home to him the magnitude of what he had done. When asked, on Cow Corner Chronicles with Chandresh, when his achievement had sunk in, McCullum said: “It was probably when Sourav Ganguly, Dada, came up to and said, ‘You realise, this has changed your life forever?’. And I kind of knew what he meant at the time. But I didn’t anticipate just quite what it really meant.

“I’ve said all the time that it literally changed my life. The opportunities I’ve had beyond that, and the chances I’ve been able to take because of that one night in Bangalore, it was something I’ll never forget.

“I was incredibly lucky to have that honour and I’m pleased that I was able to do something that helped launch a tournament that is now the most successful domestic tournament in the world – probably the most successful tournament in the world, when it comes to cricket.

“We know how much the game means to the people of India, and we know how much India means to the cricketing world in turn. And I think, to have played a small part in that, it was pretty cool. I feel very lucky. But yeah, it would have been that moment when Dada said to me, ‘Your life has changed forever’.”

McCullum’s knock was No.1 in Wisden’s five T20 innings of the 2000s, as picked by CricViz analyst Freddie Wilde for the 2000s in Review series. The knock has been credited for sparking the IPL, a tournament that thrust the game into the T20 age.

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