IPL 2019: Andre Russell understands his role in KKR, reckons Robin Uthappa
"If he fails, it is about balance."
Updated - Mar 30, 2019 11:31 am
Calling Andre Russell an important part of the team, Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Robin Uthappa has said the all-rounder needs the freedom to deliver. Russell has been in red-hot form for the franchise in the IPL so far, playing a huge role in both of their wins. That he faced only 17 and 19 balls in the two games and still walked away with the Man of the Match gongs tells the impact he has had with the bat.
In the first game, the Knight Riders were looking set to start their campaign with a defeat. Up against the formidable bowling lineup of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Knight Riders needed an improbable 53 from 3 overs. All the eyes were on Russell and he duly delivered, smashing 49 off just 19 deliveries to help the Knight Riders win the game by 2 wickets. His impact in the second game against Kings XI Punjab was even greater.
The all-rounder had initially struggled and was batting on 3 runs off 5 when Mohammed Shami castled him. At that point in time, it looked like the Knight Riders would struggle to get to 200 even after a solid start. The umpire then called a no-ball after finding that one of the fielders had breached the fielding rules and Russell made Kings XI pay a huge price. He smoked 48 from just 17 deliveries with the help of 3 fours and 5 sixes to help Knight Riders score 218 for 4 – their highest total at the Eden Gardens.
He had then dismissed the dangerous Chris Gayle and Sarfaraz Khan to help the Knight Riders win the game. “Andre Russell plays an important role. We understand the impact he has for the team to go from 180 to 200. It is important for him to have freedom. He looks at himself as a senior statesman in the team. He understands the role,” Uthappa said to the media ahead of the game against Delhi Capitals.
“If he fails, it is about balance. If it wasn’t a no ball and Russell had gotten out (in the last game), I would have played an attacking role. But with him around, you have to be sensible about what the team needs. Russell will have a few bad days, it is bound to happen. We need to take that in our stride and deliver,” he explained.
Need to start well:
After winning both of their games at home, the Knight Riders are now gearing up for consecutive away games. It will start with the game against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday. “First away game… This is important as we need to start well. Winning is important in away games. DC have always been a tough opponent in Delhi.
It doesn’t look like a regular wicket. If it is a good wicket, we will get runs. The importance of away wins is huge. We have four away games, so starting well is important. We need to create that momentum away from home,” he said.