Where will Russell bat for KKR: The star all-rounder’s batting position has allured much interest from both fans and cricket experts.
Acquiring the services of England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan for the 13th season of the Indian Premier League was one of the highlights of Kolkata Knight Riders’ previous auction.
Morgan, who had scored 444 runs for KKR at an average of 22.20 and a strike rate of 124.37 in 22 innings from 2011-13, has joined the franchise for a second stint and is being looked upon with an entirely different perspective. If head coach Brendon McCullum is to be believed, Morgan was in their radar for reasons such as batting and leadership.
“Eoin Morgan, from our point of view, was a fantastic get at the IPL auction because we wanted to provide a little bit of resource around [Andre] Russell’s six-hitting ability. And we also probably wanted to a bit of leadership around the skipper Dinesh Karthik, and Morgan has obviously won the ODI World Cup for England and he’s been a standout leader in world cricket.
Cummins, Morgan, Banton – All aboard ✅
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) September 18, 2020
“He was a guy we were desperate to get and him batting in the middle-order around Andre Russell and around Dinesh Karthik provides us with a really, really strong middle-order,” McCullum said in a virtual press conference.
Where will Russell bat for KKR in IPL 2020?
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell amassing 1,424 runs in 53 T20 innings at an average and strike rate of 43.15 and 177.78 respectively since the start of 2019 has allured a plethora of opinions around his batting position including that of KKR chief mentor David Hussey.
Russell, who primarily bats at No. 6 or 7, has knowingly/unknowingly made many cricket experts and fans vouch for his promotion in the batting order. Being asked about the same, McCullum talked about Russell’s game “better suited for the last 10 overs” of a T20 innings.
“Russell hit 54  sixes last season. He came out of the telephone box on so many occasions. His game is definitely suited to probably the last 10 overs of a T20 game where he can really control it.
“But there may be times where match-ups are right and we can enter Andre earlier up the order, but that will be a horses for courses type of approach. The good thing is we’ve got a lot of resources to choose from,” McCullum said.
McCullum, who is coming on the back of coaching Trinbago Knight Riders to victory in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League, also lent support behind rookie England opening batsman Tom Banton.
With Kolkata likely to take the field with four overseas players in Sunil Narine, Morgan, Russell and Pat Cummins in their first IPL 2020 match against Mumbai Indians on September 23, McCullum understands that Banton might not start for them initially. However, he was confident about the 21-year old player getting a go later in the tournament.
“[Tom] Banton was a great pick at the auction. Look he probably won’t start for us in this campaign because we’re going with a slightly different balance but what he does is gives you so many different options.
“He is a young man with all before him, he’s already made a splash in international cricket. He is unique how he goes about his game, he’s an exciting batsman, and can even shock and dominate the very best bowlers. When he gets his opportunity, I’m sure he will entertain the fans all around the world. I’m sure he’ll get a chance at some stage later on in the tournament,” McCullum mentioned.