When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Ever heard the above?
You may certainly have.
Using the above in the IPL would it be incorrect to state that when the going gets tough for KKR Andre Russell gets going?
To a format of cricket both reliant on and decorated by big hits, Russell brings to the IPL his own style. Gayle became Gaylestorm here. Dhoni evoked an emotion called Thala, something that’s become his identity. And it was here in the IPL that AB’s opponents found, apart from sounds that reverberate in the stadia “AB…..AB”, balls on the rooftop.
But is that all? What about the fear-factor that batting all-rounders like Andre Russell have come to create?
Given all Andre Russell’s been up to, it may not be wrong to say that the Jamaican is a “beauty of a beast” in the IPL.
But let’s dispense with sobriquets for a while.
In a template of cricket that likes fireworks, Andre Russell does what he does best: blast away bowlers.
His batting is this beauty we love about the IPL.
Just that, its expression to those hanging out with tired legs, aching bones, crumbled hopes and whatnot seems as if a beast came out to bat.
But beyond the barbarism exhibited by the bat, it’s Russell’s enthusiasm for KKR; his zeal to contribute, and not to forget the outstanding athleticism that makes KKR a force to reckon with.
What do you think?
To a batsman who one wouldn’t consider the most technically-sound in the game and definitely miles from being a go-to man for salvaging a draw in Tests (not that Andre ever endorsed the thought), it’s here in the IPL that Russell’s found comfort and truth be told, a seemingly permanent place in the city of joy, one to which he contributes a lot himself.
For a side that had the services of Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis and one that orchestrated perhaps one of the IPL’s least-appreciated experiments- getting ‘mystery spinner’ Sunil Narine to open- there’s little surprise that all Russell lends this incredible all-round quality.
His quintessential slaying of bowlers- regardless of whether they are yorker-specialists or medium pacers- presents fans a man who seems to be batting perpetually on a ‘beast mode.’
And that’s what makes the IPL what it is: a celebration of power or let’s say, an exhibition of fierce striking.
A ruling of brute batting of a kind (and commitment) that guys like Gayle, Warner, Watson, Pandya, Pant, de Villiers offer.
Could it be that here lies the Andre Russell-enigma?
He’s not concerned about the kind of stars that hover around him in the IPL.
Wondering how? Well, a throwback to his immediate performances may serve an example.
A few hours back, Andre Russell clubbed Tim Southee akin to a hunk taking a toddler for a jog in the park. Not the best welcome for an experienced bowler in IPL 2019.
Did you note that Southee- none for 61 from 4- was only playing his first game in this season?
This wasn’t the easiest bowler to strike even if Russell wasn’t against some ‘Boult’ pace.
In a sport where experience certainly matters, take Watson, Pollard, Gayle, Robin, Yuvi, Warner as examples- Russell- with not as many games as any of these biggies- countered a commonly-accepted T20 logic: that even without sizeable experience one can beat his own trumpet.
Southee debuted in T20s in 2008.
Russell, hell, would it even matter to the man himself, burst on the T20 stage, not before 2011.
Southee, about the same age as Russell, in fact, older not only by six months but with bigger match-experience was, quite simply, being toyed.
Bangalore, it seemed, was the Jamaican’s own land, away from home, well wherever it may be.
It didn’t really matter.
The colors, regardless of some wearing red and others, purple, seemed a bit blurred at the end of the day.
For Andre Russell seemed a bit of everything to everybody, in a contest where Kohli and De Villiers both hung in and made it count.
But what did we see?
In a heartbreaking loss suffered by the RCB, the Jamaican actually made Bangalore seem royally challenged, as if they haven’t already become some stupid social media meme, with all due respect.
Not a man you want to look in the eye if you’re a bowler.
Definitely not someone you wish to take lightly in the death overs.
Andre Russell, it ought to be said, is here to stay. And thus far, with scores of an unbeaten 48, 62, 48, and, an unbeaten 49 is chilling out there.
And yesterday, with a strike rate of 369 (Universe Boss, have you taken a note?), including 7 sixes is pretty much killing it and softly either.
Is anyone willing to take Russell on?