Andre Russell has set T20 cricket on fire. His explosiveness with the bat has helped Kolkata Knight Riders win several key moments and matches. The brute strength that Russell has showcased with the bat has sent the fans into a frenzy and his strike-rate has consistently been more than 180 in the last three years for KKR.
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That said, Gautam Gambhir, the former KKR captain believes there is one bowler who might be able to succeed against the big-hitting West Indian batsman in this year’s IPL.
“There might be two or three of them in the IPL who could trouble him but not beyond that. I don’t see bowlers other than probably someone like Jasprit Bumrah who can actually trouble Andre Russell,” Gambhir said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
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Another hot topic that has always been associated with Russell is the position he bats at for KKR. Russell usually comes lower down the order – either at No. 5 or 6 – and this has led to a huge debate. Experts feel Russell can be even more dangerous while batting higher. KKR mentor David Hussey has even backed the big-hitting West Indies to in fact, score a double hundred in the IPL if he bats at No. 3.
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However, with another fine T20 batsman in Eoin Morgan up their ranks, KKR will be forced to think out of the box as to how and where to utilise these two batsmen.
“Obviously, if you are in great hitting form, quality of cricket and quality of bowling might be different but Andre Russell is a confidence player. If his confidence is high, then the bowling does not matter,” Gambhir said.
“If someone goes in such big-hitting form to the IPL, I want to see how KKR uses him. Because now they have Eoin Morgan as well, who is in great form. So if you have two such international players, who are in great hitting form, left-handed and right-handed, then you can be a little flexible.”
Gambhir endorses the idea of KKR not letting Russell bat anywhere below No. 5, so that it allows the team to capitalise most on the Russell-Morgan batting duo, although there is always room to shuffle things up. “KKR should not send Andre Russell below No .5 in the batting order considering the form he is in. And the number should not matter, the overs should matter. Batting position is an overrated thing, six balls can change the entire match in T20 cricket,” he said.
“So at times, it is possible, that you have got such a good start, that you can send Russell even ahead of Morgan. It is not necessary to send him after Morgan. You can send him at No. 4 as well, it should be an over-oriented batting line-up rather than saying that you will not send him above No. 5 or No. 6.”