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IPL 2019: Gautam Gambhir reveals the story of how Kolkata Knight Riders discovered Andre Russell

The team was looking for a backup for their aging all-rounder South Africa’s Jacques Kallis and Gambhir reveals how they chanced upon Russell in the auction.

Andre Russell
Andre Russell. (Photo: IANS)

Andre Russell is trending all over the social media and in cricket circles given his exploits in the ongoing IPL 2019. Russell has smashed 207 runs from just 77 deliveries at an astounding strike rate of over 260 in the five matches played by table toppers Kolkata Knight Riders. Russell has been the Player of the Match in three of those matches for his performances.

Russell’s most amazing exploits came against Royal Challengers Bangalore when he smoked 48* in 13 balls with 7 sixes and 1 four, as RCB managed to leak 53 runs in last three overs and KKR won the match with 5 balls to go. Russell was extremely severe in his hitting and has found himself in the race for the Purple Cap, having worn it at one point of time during the ongoing IPL.

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Russell had joined the Kolkata based franchise in 2013, after the KKR, who had won the IPL in 2012 bid on the all-rounder who had made his IPL debut in 2012 for the then Delhi Daredevils, who had bought him in the auction for a sum of $450,000. He played a handful of matches for the Delhi team and was not retained for IPL 2013.

Gautam Gambhir reveals how KKR got Andre Russell in the IPL 2013 auction

Gautam Gambhir had just led the Kolkata Knight Riders to their maiden IPL title in 2012 after taking over as captain in 2011 and the team was rebuilt from scratch. The team was looking for a backup for their aging all-rounder South Africa’s Jacques Kallis and Gambhir reveals how they chanced upon Russell in the auction.

“A lot of people ask me how KKR discovered Andre Russell. Was it modern-day cricket analytics? Was it a genius head-hunter who recommended him? Or was it a masterstroke at the auction table? Being a former KKR captain I can tell you that it was none of the above. It was a classic case of not finding a table at the best Italian restaurant in your city and ending up at a lesser known joint. Let me explain,” Gambhir writes in his column in The Times of India.

“In 2013-14 we were searching for a backup for the great Jacques Kallis. One of the very few options available was Russell. Till then he had played two seasons for Delhi. With 58 runs in seven games, Russell was the lesser-known Italian joint waving at the customers passing by. They would stop, look, ponder, and move on. KKR booked a table purely as there was no choice. And the Rs 60 lakh price tag for Russell didn’t hurt at all,” wrote Gambhir.

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