‘I'm a legend. Come out and watch me bat': Andre Russell's roaring statement ahead of IPL 2023
In KKR's below-par season last year, Russell was once again one of their top performers with 335 runs at a strike rate of 174.48. He hit as many as 32 sixes.
"Russell sir, one selfie please!" The chants were repetitive and loud. Andre Russell had just started to make his way towards the D block of Eden Gardens, in Kolkata. The rest of the Kolkata Knight Riders players were still sweating it out in the nets. But Russell had had enough. In the few deliveries that he faced, he bludgeoned the ball with brute force. Like every other season, KKR will heavily rely on the West Indies all-rounder to deliver the goods.
The pressure and responsibility on Russell might be more in IPL 2023 than in other seasons. KKR are yet to make an official announcement about captain Shreyas Iyer's injury but according to multiple reports, the right-handed batter is all but ruled out of the entire season due to a reoccurring back injury.
If Iyer is unable to participate in this year's IPL then KKR will have to look elsewhere. The problem is, they don't have many options in the squad. The ones with leadership experience at the top level are only Tim Southee and Shakib Al Hasan but both New Zealand pacer and Bangladesh all-rounder might not be a certainty in the XI for every match mainly due to team combinations. Among Indian players, Nitish Rana and Venkatesh Iyer are viable options. However, their inexperience of leading an IPL side might go against them.
That is where Andre Russell comes in. Along with Sunil Narine, he has been a pillar of KKR's IPL campaigns for the last few seasons. Russell has led Jamaica Tallawahs in the CPL and moreover, he is one of KKR's biggest matchwinners and a showman.
"I'll try to make all of you happy. I'm satisfied with how the ball is coming out of the bat. Hopefully, I can replicate the same during this IPL," Russell told reporters in Kolkata.
In KKR's below-par season last year, Russell was once again one of their top performers with 335 runs at a strike rate of 174.48. He hit as many as 32 sixes. With the ball too he scalped 17 wickets - the most by him in an IPL.
With the IPL returning to the home and away format after three years, Russell wants the KKR fans to turn up in numbers to watch a 'legend' like him in action.
"Won't you watch me bat? I'm a legend. I want all of you to cheer for me," Russell told reporters.
KKR begin their campaign against Punjab Kings on April 1 in Mohali.
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