KKR mentor David Hussey has praised openers Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill after team's 3-wicket Qualifier 2 win against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Wednesday. Hussey called Iyer a clone of former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming, adding that Gill will play 10 years of Test, ODI and T20I cricket for India.
Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill have given KKR the much-needed impetus throughout the second leg of the IPL 2021 in the UAE. The two-time champions have managed to win just two out of their seven matches in the India leg. Moreover, the KKR middle-order has failed miserably throughout the tournament but despite all the trouble the openers and the KKR bowling unit has driven their team in the final where they will meet 3-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
In the Qualifier 2 against a strong Delhi bowling unit in Sharjah, the duo partnered for 96 runs in 12.1 oves during the 136-run chase. Venkatesh Iyer scored 55 to hit fifties at all three (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) venues of IPL 2021 in the UAE. Shubman Gill, who has top-scored for KKR with 427 runs in the season so far, contributed 46 runs in the chase which became more than tricky at one stage. Notably, by the end of the fourth ball of the 20th over, KKR were seven down, needing 6 runs to win from 2 deliveries.
Hussey has compared Iyer to former New Zealand captain and current CSK head coach Stephen Fleming, and backed Gill to play 10 years of Test, ODI and T20I cricket for India.
"We have found a player in Venkatesh Iyer. Not only he is a classy player, but also a wonderful person. He struck the ball superbly from ball one. Some of those big sixes he hit actually changed the tempo of the game and got us into a winning position," Hussey said during the post-match presentation.
"Our openers complement each other very well. He's just a class player at the top. He is tall, a Stephen Fleming clone, I believe. He's got a big future in the game," David Hussey said while praising Iyer.
"Everyone knows he [Gill] is going to be a ten-year veteran of Test match cricket, one-day cricket and T20 cricket for India," Hussey said. "It's just how he gets there and how quickly he gets there. What he does is he gives the whole batting group a lot of confidence the way he goes out there. Just seeing him strike the first ball to the cover boundary soothed the nerves among the boys in the dressing room and the dugout. And everyone knows he's just such a classy player, intelligent player and I, for one, am just looking forward to seeing him grow as a cricketer and as a person," he added.
'McCullum has given everybody a fresh lease of life'
Further, Hussey also talked highly of Brendon McCullum for guiding the team to the final. During several media interactions, KKR captain Eoin Morgan has also reiterated that his team was playing the brand of cricket based on the blueprint laid by coach McCullum.
"It's unheard of what he [McCullum] has actually done here. It's remarkable. We were seventh in the table and not playing great cricket, and he's just turned it around. He has given everybody a fresh lease of life. He's freshened up the place. Everybody's happy, everybody's smiling, and he should take a lot of credit. I know he won't because he's a very humble man, but he should take a lot of credit for what he has been able to accomplish in this part of the IPL."
Everyone including Andre Russell available for selection for IPL 2021 final
The former Australian cricketer provided a positive update on star all-rounder Andre Russell's niggle injury, saying that he bowled in the nets ahead of Delhi Capitals clash. Shakib Al Hasan, who replaced Russell in the eleven, will also continue to stay in the KKR bio-bubble and be available for selection on Friday.
"Andre Russell's tracking nicely, I think," Hussey said. "He was bowling before the game today. So I think he might be in the mix [for the final]. I will have to discuss it with the medical staff first, but he has been doing all the practices, training lots before games.
"Yes of course he (Shakib Al Hasan) is available. He is a fine player. He has probably won us two games. Everyone is going to be available for selection and it is going to be a tough call for the head coach," he added