KKR would’ve won more titles if Andre Russell had played when I was with the team: Gautam Gambhir
Russell played around three seasons when Gambhir was the KKR skipper.
Updated - Apr 18, 2020 4:43 pm
The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was always a team filled with the star players ever since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL). But the team didn’t perform to its potential in the first few editions of the tournament. However, Gautam Gambhir became the captain of the team in 2012 and it changed everything. KKR won the IPL twice, in 2012 and 2014, courtesy of his leadership skills and the team did well when he was at the helm.
But Gambhir feels that the franchise would’ve won more IPL trophies if Andre Russell had played when the former was with the KKR. Interestingly, the strongly built Caribbean player was picked by the franchise ahead of the 2014 edition in the auction for just Rs 60 lakh. While he played only a couple of matches during their title-winning run in the same season, Russell scored 326 runs at a strike-rate of 192.89 in 11 innings in IPL 2015.
Though he didn’t dominate much in the following season Andre Russell smashed 188 runs in 8 outings at a strike rate of close to 165. But then 2017 proved to be a tough year for him as he was banned for a year in the doping case and had miss the IPL that year. However, the KKR kept faith in him and and retained him ahead of the mega auctions.
Andre Russell lived up to his reputation in 2018 and 2019 IPL
And Andre Russell proved their decision right with his scintillating performances in IPL 2018 and 2019. After missing playing cricket for a year in 2017, he came stronger and fitter than ever and ripped apart the opposition bowling line-ups for fun. Rather he won a few games for the team single-handedly. But then, the franchise had released Gautam Gambhir in the mega auction and he wasn’t able to lead the team when Russell was at his best.
Speaking at the Star Sports’ Cricket Connected show, the former India cricketer and current BJP MP wished that the Caribbean swashbuckler should’ve played when he was with the KKR during his seven-year stint with the franchise and they would’ve won a couple of titles definitely. He also recalled that in the same auction when KKR bought Russell for a meagre amount, Pawan Negi was sold for a huge amount of Rs 8 crore to the Delhi franchise.
“Imagine Russell going for 50 Lakhs to KKR and Pawan Negi for 8 cr to Daredevils. I probably wished that he would have been there for 7 years when I was playing we would have certainly won one or two more,” Gambhir said. Interestingly, despite Russell being at his best, the KKR hasn’t performed well in the last two seasons.