Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) big-hitter Andre Russell has slowly been losing his sheen when it comes to being dependable to deliver the goods with the bat and he struggles with fitness issues as evident in KKR’s recent match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL 2023.
Russell went off the field twice during the first six overs of SRH's batting innings. He first went off due to an issue with his leg and despite picking 3 wickets in his 2.1 overs, the West Indian all-rounder had to leave the field as the injury became serious.
With the bat, it was expected that Russell would give company to his KKR captain Nitish Rana, who was in a good flow, but he failed to do scoring only 3 runs, as KKR lost the match by 23 runs in the end, chasing 229 to win.
With only 39 runs in four matches so far, Andre Russell has gotten off to one of the worst starts in his illustrious IPL career. Russell has been dismissed by a leg-spinner in his last three innings.
Taking note of his struggles against the leg-spinners, former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar said on Cricbuzz that Russell should’ve opened the innings for KKR if he had a leg injury.
"He had a leg injury so could KKR have sent him as an opener? He wouldn't have had to do a lot of running and could have used the field restrictions to his credit," Rohan Gavaskar said on Cricbuzz.
During the same conversation, Virender Sehwag revealed that in 2018, he had advised Russell to go back to domestic cricket and start opening the innings, which he did in CPL with much success.
“I told Andre Russell the same thing in 2018. I told Russell to go domestic cricket and open. if you get success as an opener then you will become a million-dollar boy. And he did that. He opened in CPL, scored a century in one of the games, and messaged me, But he was the captain there, the biggest player. He can take such risks and calls of opening the batting. But can he do the same in KKR? This will have to be decided by the coaching staff and captain.
He has no problems against fast bowlers, it's the spinners that can get him into trouble but if he gets set while opening the batting then he will get a lot more balls to play and he can become even more dangerous,” Sehwag said.
Sehwag even gave the example of Virat Kohli, who opens the innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
“Who is the chase master? Virat Kohli. Where does he bat for RCB? Doesn't he finish matches? Andre Russell can do that too. But KKR will have to take that risk. Will he be able to survive the new ball? If yes, then try him as an opener,” he added.
KKR will next face Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on April 16 in a day game.