Bulky personality, power-striker, and ability to send the ball into the stands, West Indies’ Andre Russell is one of the best all-rounders of the captivating game at present. His splendid knocks in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has made him stand in the elite league of extraordinary players. One wouldn’t be wrong to say that Russell terrifies the bowlers of all class and forms.
In the 2019 edition of IPL, Russell entertained fans with his hard-hitting batting display throughout the tournament. He finished the 12th season of the lucrative league with 510 runs at a phenomenal average of 56.66 and a breathtaking strike-rate of 204.81.
In a recent conversation with former Indian player Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricinfo, India’s frontline bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) recalled a match when Russell showed outstanding performance. Bhuvi showered praises on Russell as the latter single-handedly won the match for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against SRH.
It was a game when KKR needed 53 off last three overs, and Russell played one of the spectacular knocks of his IPL career, scoring 19-ball-49 to take his team to victory. Recalling the innings, Bhuvneshwar said luck plays a crucial factor while bowling to the all-rounder as even his mishits clear the rope.
“I remember the first match of the last IPL, where I was the captain, and he scored 52-odd runs in the final three overs. I still remember two-three of his sixes were so long that normal batsmen wouldn’t have managed even after middling the ball,” said Bhuvneshwar.
“One thing which matters a lot is the ground you’re playing on—dimensions of the ground, boundary, and all matters a lot. You’re generally aware of the dimensions of the ground before the match, and you have a plan on where to bowl. But Russell is a powerful batsman, even his mishits go for a six, as we saw in the last IPL season,” the 30-year-old added.
Bhuvneshwar said that even if a bowler tries to bowl yorkers to Russell, he still manages to whack those deliveries.
“So, somewhere down the line, you hope that he misses one ball. Or that his mistimed shots don’t go over the boundary. These things matter a lot. A lot of bowlers in the last IPL, including me, bowled yorkers on his legs and then one wide outside off to bluff him but he used to hit those balls for a six even while losing balance. He is such a great player against whom luck matters a lot,” concluded Bhuvneshwar.