Kolkata Knight Riders superstar all-rounder Andre Russell is having a bumper comeback season in the IPL. In 6 IPL 2022 matches so far, he has scored 179 runs – which is already 62 runs more than he did in the 2020 season and just 4 runs short of what he finished with last season.
He’s not just scored these runs, but smashed them – at a strike rate of 179. Russell remains a phenomenal cricket, one of the most fearsome batters in the league and KKR will rely heavily on him as they have, until now, won half of their six matches and would want to push forward for a playoff berth.
Here are 3 reasons why Andre Russell is the backbone of the Knight Riders:
Known for his destructive batting ability, Andre Russell is also a front-line bowler for KKR. And although he isn’t a 4-over regular seamer, because of his shoulder injury issues, KKR have found a way to get the best out of him with the ball.
Since last season, Andre Russell has been used as a middle-overs enforcer and a death-overs only seamer. He, in fact, took a five-wicket haul versus Mumbai Indians last season.
Since last season, Russell has only once bowled all of his 4 overs in the IPL, but KKR, who have a couple of handy part-time options, don’t need the West Indian to bowl 4 overs; they only require to him to deliver a couple, maybe one more when he’s in rhythm. This adds great value to the balance of the side.
Andre Russell has the highest strike rate for anyone with over 1500 IPL runs; he strikes at 178.61 with 1879 runs. Russell has the ability to make a game-changing impact in a small amount of time or deliveries.
For instance, earlier this season, against Punjab Kings, KKR found themselves in a tricky position 51/4 while chasing 138 and had given PBKS a sniff to balance the game. Russell entered and wreaked havoc, smashing sixes to all parts of the Wankhede, and completed the chase with minimum fuss, whacking 70* runs in 31 balls.
There have been several times in the IPL when we feel that a player is out of sorts at a franchise, where he isn’t backed, where he isn’t valued as much as he’d like to.
The Knight Riders, in such cases, have been tremendous in the treatment given out to their players, especially Andre Russell. When the Jamaican was still making his name out in the world, he suffered a fateful incident when he was banned for a year doping code violation, and consequently missed the 2017 IPL season.
KKR, however, didn’t let Russell go and kept him, backed him, and that was despite an ordinary 2016 season.
The trust and faith that KKR showed in him was enough to motivate the all-rounder to come back better and stronger than ever. He had a ballistic 2018 and 2019 IPL seasons. Feeling secure at KKR, Russell has given his best for the franchise over the years and remains their most important player.