New Delhi: Kolkata Knight Riders finished as runner-up in the 2021 edition of IPL after suffering a 27-run defeat to Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash on Friday. KKR failed to grab the trophy for the third time but they surely impressed many with their performance in the UAE leg. The Eoin Morgan-led side struggled miserably in the first half of the season in India where they won only two matches out of seven, while the table turned in the UAE and KKR played some fearless cricket to reach the final.

It was the young players of the camp who changed the fortunes as Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy and Shivam Mavi won the game for KKR with their fearless approach.

KKR coach Brendon McCullum heaped huge praise on Venkatesh and said he was a big catalyst for the team’s turnaround after an underwhelming first half.

“He (Iyer) will be challenged to change his methods at times too. He might not necessarily be the most consistent because of his flamboyancy. But I hope he remains the Venkatesh Iyer that we have seen so far,” McCullum said at the post-match press conference.

“He’s got an enormous future in this game and he’s a very intelligent man. He was a big catalyst for our turnaround this season,” he said.

McCullum revealed that Iyer was supposed to get a chance in the Indian leg but the league was suspended before the match due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“But look, Venkatesh Iyer has been quite an incredible story. Looking back, he was actually going to play the last game, the next game when we were in India. In a funny way, the break came at a good time there. It gave him an opportunity to just get another couple of months of cricket under his belt, to understand that his opportunities weren’t too far away,” he added.

The former New Zealand captain hailed Iyer style of play which he called is a bit of a cavalier kind of streak.

“For him, it was a matter of bringing the game which he owns the Venkatesh Iyer game plan to the table, which is aggressive intent. He’s a big presence, he’s a tall man. He plays the game with a bit of a cavalier kind of streak. And that is so important that he holds on to it,” said the KKR head coach.