Kolkata Knight Riders chief mentor David Hussey said that all-rounder Andre Russell is pushing hard to play in the eliminator match against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Russell, who is known for his power-hitting skills, has been brilliant with the ball since the IPL 2021 resumed as he bowled an excellent spell of 3/9 against RCB where he got the better of AB de Villiers on the first ball with a toe-crushing yorker.
I think Andre Russell is just maybe a game away: David Hussey
Russell sustained a hamstring injury during a match against Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi where he limped off the field. Since then Russell is recovering from his injury and according to Hussey, the all-rounder is pushing hard to be fit for the playoffs.
“He (Russell) had a fitness test on Wednesday, and I think he’s just maybe a game away. So, I think he’d be pushing hard over the next few days to get back in for the final (play-offs),” Hussey said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“(His availability) will be a huge boost not only for us but the competition. He’s world-class and he provides lots of entertainment,” he added.
Andre Russell heals quickly: Eoin Morgan
KKR produced a clinical performance against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday to script a commanding 86-run win in Sharjah and they nearly sealed a playoff berth with a net run rate of +0.587.
KKR skipper Eoin Morgan said that Russell will heal quickly and hoped for the West Indies all-rounder to recover quickly.
“We are taking it day by day. We know that he heals quickly. He has proved that last year. He had a two-and-a-half inch hamstring tear last year and came back in two weeks. He is working incredibly hard and hoping we get through as is everybody else,” Morgan said.
Shakib has played for KKR in the last two matches as their fourth overseas player and has picked two wickets so far and is yet to bat for the team. In case Russell recovers before the eliminator match, the Bangladesh all-rounder could be the one to lose his spot in the team.
Morgan said it will be very difficult for him and the team management to drop Shakib from their playing XI.
“Shakib Al Hasan coming in and performing the way he has made the job of replacing Russell a little bit easier. Very difficult to replace him because you miss out on a genuine batter and a genuine bowler. Shakib has been terrific and has contributed massively in the last two games,” Morgan said.
Five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians will have to play out of the box against SRH to topple KKR in the top four.