Andre Russell wasn’t at his usual best as Kolkata Knight Riders struggled to qualify for IPL 2020 playoffs last year. The franchise is expected to look for a backup for Andre Russell in the auction.
Andre Russell has the reputation of being one of the finest all-rounders considering T20 cricket but IPL 2020 season saw him emerge as a big flop as he could amass only 117 runs averaging a pathetic 13 with a bat in 10 games. With the IPL 2021 auction now only a few weeks away, Aakash Chopra has suggested Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) need two all-rounders as back-up to muscle man Andre Russell.
Andre Russell’s Form Will Be Critical To Kolkata Knight Rider’s Success: Aakash Chopra
The name of Andre Russell is usually enough to send chills down the spine of the opponent team’s bowlers but he didn’t quite live up to the expectations last season. Though injuries and fitness issues also played their role, Andre Russell might not be relied upon by KKR next season as much as he has usually been.
However, Andre Russell had a great IPL 2019 amassing 510 runs averaging a staggering 56.66 at a strike rate of 204.81 but flopped in next edition at UAE.
In his YouTube video, Aakash Chopra analyzed the squad currently at KKR’s disposal. He picked the Australian duo of Moises Henriques and Cameron Green as the back-up to Andre Russell in case the big-hitting West Indian fail to assert his dominance the way he usually does.
“Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell’s form will be critical to their success. Their batting at No.5 and No.6 has to be super-hit for this team to do well. Their team is looking perfectly fine but they will be looking for Indian batsmen. They have Shubman Gill, Rana, Tripathi and Karthik, which is not too bad. They have Rinku Singh as backup whom they do not give matches,” said Aakash Chopra in the video.
“They need a backup for Russell, a player who can do two things because when Russell gets injured then the whole scenario changes. They could go for Cameron Green or Moises Henriques as the backup for Russell if they are looking for fast-bowling all-rounders,” he added.
Likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Cameron Green, Moises Henriques or Glenn Maxwell all of whom are promising all-rounders could be bought in IPL 2021 auction. The team now have only 2 West Indies players Sunil Narine and Andre Russell as all-rounders. Australian pacer Pat Cummins did well somewhat with the bat in IPL 2020 hitting a fifty but he isn’t an all-rounder. Interestingly, Shakib Al Hasan played for KKR before from 2011 to 2017 and Moises Henriques played for KKR in 2009 but his last IPL appearance came in 2017.
Aakash Chopra: KKR Has Tim Seifert As Opener But Could Look Towards England’s Dawid Malan
The opening department has also been a cause of concern for the Kolkata Knight Riders as Sunil Narine failed as an opener. In the auction for the 14th edition of the extravagant league, Aakash Chopra feels the franchise could target England’s Dawid Malan, especially as England’s skipper Eoin Morgan is the captain of the franchise.
“KKR have Tim Seifert as an option to open with Shubman Gill. But they could look towards Dawid Malan. With Morgan as the captain, I think they will have a greater interest in Malan. Otherwise, they have Tripathi and Nitish Rana has also opened a few times,” said Chopra.
Dawid Malan has played 15 Test and 1 ODI but in 19 T20Is his average is a staggering 53.44. The left-handed batsman has 1 ton and 9 fifties in the shortest format but hasn’t played IPL. The 33-year-old is currently No. 1 T20I batsman for England.
Rahul Tripathi and Shubman Gill have opened previously but Tim Seifert hasn’t played a game as he was a late inclusion in place of injured pacer Ali Khan who had earlier replaced pacer Harry Gurney.