Kolkata Knight Riders chief mentor David Hussey has said that all-rounder Andre Russell would be giving his best to recover on time and take the field for his team in the IPL 2021 playoffs. The former Australia cricketer added that availability of Russell will be a huge boost for the team.
Kolkata Knight Riders outplayed Rajasthan Royals in their last game with a 86-run victory on Thursday. KKR scored 171 in the first innings and then wrapped up the opposition's innings for a total of 85 runs to put themselves on the cusp of IPL 2021 playoffs. However, KKR has been missing the services of their injured all-rounder Andre Russell. The team’s chief mentor David Hussey has given an update on Russell's fitness and said that 33-year-old was would give his best to recover on time for the Eoin Morgan-led side.
The West Indies all-rounder has played only three matches in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 for KKR. Russell, who suffered a hamstring injury, last played against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on September 26.
"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). (His availability) will be a huge boost not only for us but the competition. He's world-class and he provides lots of entertainment," Hussey said at the post-match press conference.
The first leg of IPL 2021 in India was not very good for KKR but the UAE leg of the tournament has turned out to be brilliant for the 2-time champions. Coming back from the Covid-enforced break, KKR performed as a confident unit and won some fixtures against higher ranked teams in the points table. The team is playing an aggressive brand of cricket and has almost ensured a place in the playoffs.
Notably, with the victory against Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Thursday, Kolkata have put themselves in a strong position to finish at fourth place in the league stage and enter the playoffs. Kolkata have 14 points from 14 games and a solid Net Run Rate (NRR) of 0.587. David Hussey is of the opinion that the team was not able to execute the brand of cricket they wanted to play in the first half of the tournament.
"At the halfway mark, we weren't playing the type of cricket that we wanted to play. We are all about playing entertaining cricket -- hitting fours, sixes -- and with the ball, hitting the stumps, taking wickets, and fielding exceptionally well," he opined.
Speaking on the transformation of the team in the second leg, Hussey said that the break worked in their favour as they got time to refresh and replan their strategies for the remaining fixtures.
"So, the break probably did us a world of good -- we got to refresh, recharge our batteries and re-plan -- and come to Abu Dhabi. Abhishek Nayar did a great training session, all the boys got a lot of volume and (were) ready to go,” Hussey remarked.
The match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Sunriders Hyderabad (SRH) will confirm KKR's spot in the playoffs.