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HomeCricBlogWill KKR release Andre Russell? A look at his struggles against spin

Will KKR release Andre Russell? A look at his struggles against spin

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Last Updated on 1 year by Charbel Coorey

Cricket News: Will KKR release Andre Russell? A look at his struggles against spin | Analysis: Andre Russell vs spin in IPL 2023

When you talk about power hitting in T20 cricket, one of the first few names that come to your mind would definitely include Andre Russell. Synonymous with destruction, Russell has played some of the most blistering and entertaining knocks that we have seen over the years.

With a strike rate of 174 across his IPL career, Russell is one of the greatest entertainers ever in the tournament’s history. In 96 innings, he has hit a staggering 193 sixes, 43 more than his number of fours in the same period. Among the 65+ batters to have hit at least 50 sixes in IPL history, only Russell and Chris Gayle average more than two sixes per inning.

Why did Andre Russell struggle for KKR in IPL 2023?

However, one could argue that the big man was not at his best this season. This was only the second time since 2015 that he averaged less than 25 and struck at less than 150 in an IPL season. His strike rate of 145 in IPL 2023 would be more than just decent if it was any other player in conversation, Russell has set such high standards for himself.

Cricket News: Will KKR release Andre Russell? A look at his struggles against spin | Analysis: Andre Russell vs spin in IPL 2023

Dre Russ had a single digit score in half of the games this season. In the remaining sseven games, he crossed the 25-run mark just four times. His strike rates were a bit more concerning. In seven out of 14 games, he struck at 100 or less, which is shocking for any batter in this format, but more so for Russell.

However, a certain pattern could be observed this season. In the 10 innings where right-arm legspinners bowled to Russell, the all-rounder was dismissed by them five times. His strike rate of 113.5 against the leggies this season was the second worst for him since 2015, while his average of 8.4 was his worst ever.

In the last two seasons combined, he had a strike rate of 175 against right-arm legspinners, while getting dismissed just twice in 10 innings. This season, it was a different story altogether.

In the home game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Russell holed out first ball. Karn Sharma bowled a flighted one around off, and Russell went after it straightaway. He did not time it well enough and it was easily caught at long-off by the ever energetic Virat Kohli.

Against Gujarat Titans, in what was KKR’s third game of the season, he walked in to bat when KKR required 51 off 25 deliveries. Rashid Khan bowled a googly but failed to get the length right. However, Russell tried pulling the half-tracker way too hard, edged it onto his pads and it went up in the air for the substitute wicketkeeper, Srikar Bharat, who caught it with ease. On another day, the big man would have sent it into the crowd. Later, Rinku Singh went on to hit five sixes in the last over to pull off a historic chase for KKR.

In KKR’s very next game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mayank Markande got the better of Russell, making it three dismissals to a legspinner in three innings. Markande bowled a fairly flatter delivery pitching around the leg stump, but the beast from Jamaica could not get hold of it, and it was caught by Marco Jansen who came in from long-on.

In the reverse fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Mayank Markande once again got Russell, who was looking dangerous on the day having scored 24 off 14 before the dismissal. Markande bowled a tempting flighted delivery way outside off, and Russell, taking the bait, went after it. He edged it to backward point, and once again failed to play a sensible, match-winning knock.

Lastly, it was Ravi Bishnoi who scalped the all-important wicket of Russell. It must be said that it was a lovely trap from Bishnoi. The delivery prior to the wicket was slow and tossed up, and it was dispatched for a six over long-off. The very next ball, Bishnoi bowled a quick googly and knocked Russell over.

Whether it was the match situation that made him play those shots or the development of a new weakness remains to be seen. Two of the dismissals came off ordinary deliveries, but credit must be given to the bowlers if that was a plan to bait and trap Russell. In the coming future, it will be a fascinating watch to see captains bring their legspinners into the attack specially for the big hitter from Jamaica.

With Rinku Singh taking over the finishing duties, it will also be interesting to see KKR’s decision regarding Andre Russell’s retention for the next season of the Indian Premier League. Decisions indeed.

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