The dilemma over Andre Russell’s batting position remains as Kolkata Knight Riders are set to lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday in the match no.8 of Indian Premier League 2020.
KKR have been time and again criticised for sending Windies all-rounder Russell to bat lower down the order despite the fact that he is one of the biggest hitters in the tournament and can turn the game around with his big-hitting prowess.
Russell, who primarily bats at No. 6 or 7, has knowingly/unknowingly made many cricket experts and fans vouch for his promotion in the batting order, especially after KKR’s IPL 2020 opener which they lost against defending champions Mumbai Indians by 49 runs.
Even when Kolkata needed to chase a mammoth 196-run target, they sent Russell to bat at no.6 which raised many eyebrows. Many cricket experts including Sunil Gavaskar were baffled by KKR’s tactics and they criticised the franchise for not sending Russel higher up the order.
“When you’re chasing a big target, then your big-hitters should come up the order. We saw this even in the Chennai Super Kings chase against Rajasthan Royals, after Sam Curran, MS Dhoni should have come. Likewise, if Andre Russell came at No. 4 and Eoin Morgan at No. 5, then it would have made a difference,” Sunil Gavaskar said after KKR’s loss against MI.
Notably, Kolkata Knight Riders committed the same mistake in 2019 and that cost them quite a few time last season — not give their best batsmen enough over in a big run-chase.
Meanwhile, KKR head coach Brendon McCullum recently said that he may consider pushing Andre Russell up the batting order strategically in some matches.
“His game is suited to last 10 overs of a T20 game where he can really control. But there may be times when the match-ups are right, we can get Andre come in up the order. But that will be a horses for courses type of approach. The good thing is we have a lot of resources to choose from,” he said.
Talking about Russell then is one of the biggest all-rounders in T20 cricket. The Windies batsman has the power to turn any game for his side singlehandedly and he has done that many times. On his day Russell can hit any and almost every ball out of the ground and that too with ease.
The Jamaican all-rounder has smashed 1411 runs in 53 IPL innings at a whopping strike rate of 185.17 and an average of 32.81. The 32-year-old has till now smashed 98 fours and 120 sixes in IPL.