Eden Gardens crowd gives me goosebumps of another level, reveals Andre Russell
Andre Russell hitting a six against Bhuvneshwar Kumar|
Andre Russell has admitted that playing cricket at the Eden Gardens for Kolkata Knight Riders always gives him unparalleled goosebumps. The Jamaica all-rounder has also admitted that when Kolkata need 12 or 13 runs per over, with only five overs to go, he loves to make those moments his own.
Andre Russell has been a huge contributor to Kolkata Knight Riders in the last few years and his brutally clean hitting, 90mph bowling, and athleticism in the field made him one of the icons in the KKR set-up. His 510 runs and 11 wickets helped him win the Most Valuable Player award in the last IPL, and his 52 sixes were 18 more than the second-best Chris Gayle. Such was his impact that he became the most talked-about name last year, and rightfully so, he was ecstatic about the reception.
“Let me confess something. IPL is where I get the most goosebumps when I am playing cricket. I get that in the CPL (Caribbean Premier League) as well, but when it comes to playing in the IPL, especially at Eden Gardens, there is no comparison to that crowd,” Russell told KKR’s official website.
“When I walk out before facing a ball, I have goosebumps all over me because of the welcome that I get. That’s pure love, and yes it puts pressure on me. But it’s a good kind of pressure. When Kolkata needs 12 or 13 runs per over, with only five overs to go — I love those moments, and the crowd really allows me to do what I need to do. I get a feeling they are telling me: ‘Listen, we have got your back, so just go out and do your business,” he further added.
In a chase of 182 runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Russell smashed 49 not out off 19 balls when the team needed, which involved bailing them from a situation of the team needing 53 from 18. Against Royal Challengers Bangalore, when the team needed the same amount of runs from 18 balls, the Caribbean star ended up unbeaten on 48 off 13 - a strike-rate of 369.
“If everyone was sad, and there was no noise, no entrance, that would maybe make me feel the pressure more. But I know even if I fail two games straight, when I come out to bat for the third game, it is the same deafening reaction I will get from the crowd. It’s always a welcoming thing."