With only 61 runs in five matches so far, Andre Russell has gotten off to one of the worst starts in his illustrious IPL career. The big-hitting West Indies all-rounder, who is KKR’s biggest match-winner with the bat, has been uncharacteristically silent in IPL 2023 with both bat and ball.
In fact, he didn’t bowl a single over for the first three matches. When KKR captain Nitish Rana finally threw the ball to him against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, he prized out three wickets. But KKR needed him the most with the bat.
Taking note of his struggles against the leg-spinners, former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar during a discussion on Cricbuzz, asked Virender Sehwag whether KKR should have considered opening with Russell.
“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.
Sehwag said he had given the same suggestion to Russell back in 2018 and even found success in CPL but he was not sure whether the all-rounder can do that with a team like KKR.
“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.
The former India opener even gave Virat Kohli’s example to state that Russell can finish more matches if he starts opening the batting and gets success.
“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.