New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum is the leading scorer for table-toppers Chennai Super Kings in this IPL so far, with 315 runs in ten matches. He had a forgettable outing against Delhi Daredevils in the first match but hit a century against Sunrisers Hyderabad next up and has been in sublime touch ever since.
Given McCullum’s ability to rip apart any bowling attack, the twice champions have relied heavily on him since the opener was first drafted in last year.
However, CSK will no longer have McCullum’s services after the league stage even if they qualify for the play-offs as he will leave for England to lead New Zealand in a bilateral series comprising two Tests, five ODIs and a T20I.
The tour will begin with four-day warm up match against Somerset on Friday. The Kiwis will play another four-day match before the Test series begins at Lord’s on May 21.
The clash of dates between ICC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) and IPL has not been resolved though the league is in its eighth edition. That leaves the players at loggerheads with their boards and also causes lot of damage to their IPL teams. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians will also lose key players.
Six Kiwi players with various IPL teams are expected to leave to join their national side. They include Hyderabad’s Trent Boult and Kane Williamson, Rajasthan’s Tim Southee and Mumbai’s Corey Anderson. A CSK official confirmed that McCullum will leave after playing the last league match on May 16, the very next day with his other New Zealand teammates.
CSK coach Stephen Fleming, however, said: “We don’t want to count the chicken too early. We don’t want to think that we are already in the play-offs and think about who will replace McCullum.”