The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest annual event on the global cricket calendar. Started in 2008 with a lot of hope but cautious scepticism, having gone through many ebbs and flows, the league has emerged stronger each year to showcase the world’s best talents on a single stage. The league has established itself as one of the biggest platforms for youngsters to flaunt their skills – a celebration where cricket’s largest global community meet, compete, share and build bridges.
Marking the 12th anniversary of the decorated league, cricket.com celebrates and honours the legends of the IPL by inducting them to the 'Cricket.com IPL Hall of Fame' – stars who not only dazzled on the field of play but elevated the stature of the league to skyrocketing heights by their sheer presence. This year cricket.com will induct 15 such legends. Our ninth "Cricket.com Hall of Fame" inductee is the destructive batsman from New Zealand - Brendon McCullum.
Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Trophies: 1 (2012)
Playoff finishes: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)
- Scored the first IPL hundred, 158* which remained as the highest individual score in the league till 2013
- Struck 13 sixes in his knock of 158*, second most in an IPL innings
- McCullum has the third highest number of sixes as an opener in IPL (124)
What makes him HoF worthy: The swashbuckling batsman who gave IPL the grandest opening
While there were little doubt surrounding the success of IPL, the Kiwi star, Brendon McCullum catapulted it to astonishing heights on the first night of the tournament itself with a mind-boggling knock of 158*. It was probably the first of its kind of knock which was televised on such a mass scale. Providing IPL with a start unheard of in any other tournament, McCullum ensured the tournament, which changed the way cricket was played in the coming years, is accepted worldwide only after its first game.
The interest flew both ways for McCullum, as he himself reveals, the knock changed his career serving as a launchpad that propelled him to New Zealand’s captaincy. IPL was there to stay and so was this dazzling batsman. He continued to be one of the main attractions in the tournament for whichever franchise he represented till hanging up his boots in 2018.
Fondly known as Baz, he never stopped being a threat while opening the innings. He was, in fact, one of the most prolific openers in the league amongst overseas stars. The step-out before making room against the pacers to hit them brashly over the infield and the scoops added to the beauty of both T20 cricket and IPL. After featuring in Kochi’s colors in their only year in the league in 2011, he returned to Kolkata scoring 283 runs in their title victory in 2012.
In 2014, his attacking brand of cricket gained attention of the most successful IPL franchise at that point - Chennai Super Kings. At the top of his game in international cricket then, McCullum replicated his form for CSK scoring over 400 runs in the two seasons for them. His 436 runs in the 2015 edition came at a strike-rate of 155.7. The run tally included a hundred against Hyderabad that season displaying his ability to dominate the best bowling attacks on his day. In the subsequent two seasons, he plundered over 300 runs each in 2016 and 2017 for Gujarat Lions, the last of his glory years in the league before retiring post a solitary season for Bangalore.
As a fielder he was electric who gave his 110 percent on the field every time. Watching him field the ball, stretching his body like a rubber band was as astonishing as watching him bat.
McCullum brought all the ingredients that made him a star for New Zealand and shone in the IPL with it. After a successful stint as a player, the former Kiwi skipper has returned to the league in a coaching role, initiating it with the same franchise with which he began his association in the league as a player - Kolkata Knight Riders.
NOTE: The 'Cricket.com IPL Hall of Fame' only considers players who have retired from the IPL and last played in or before the 2018 season.