Earlier this year Andre Russell was banned from playing international cricket because of violating the doping whereabouts clause, sending fury across the KKR camp, as they would have to romp their surge for their 3rd IPL title without their MVP. They have now opted for 30 year old New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme as Russel’s replacement.
There was a lot of speculation that Russell’s ban could be revoked as he hadn’t done drugs as such, and had only failed to file his whereabouts for three doping tests. But the anti doping agency felt that Russell was consiciously trying to avoid the doping investigation and thus decided to dish out a one year doping ban, keeping him out of international action till about January 2018.
KKR have been heavily dependent on Andre Russell during the past three seasons as he gives the deep so much depth with respect to batting, bowling and fielding. Russell can open the bowling, bowl at the depth, chip in with wickets in the middle overs, come up the order as a pinch hitter, finish off games, up the ante in the death overs and take blinders in the field. He is probably the toughest players to replace in the whole of IPL.
De Grandhomme, who made his Test debut in 2016 and ODI debut in 2012, has featured in six Tests, nine ODIs and eight T20Is for the Black Caps.
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While the KKR outfit must be absolutely desolate about Russell missing out, they have bought in an able replacement, and as Gautam Gambhir said in an interview, they’ll be looking at Russell’s absence as an ‘opportunity’ to show that they as a team can win without Russell as well.
“There are two ways to look at such situations in life. Either we can see Russell’s absence as a challenge or look at it as an opportunity in bold letters. I as an individual, and KKR as a group, are looking it as an opportunity”.