Andre Russell has enhanced his (already big) reputation of being fast scoring batsman in white ball cricket with his current stint in the IPL with KKR.
Russell, who has scored 377 runs at 75.40 at a strike-rate of 220.46, almost took KKR home against RCB at the Eden Gardens but was run-out in the final over.
Currently, Russell has smashed 39 sixes in the IPL and second to him is Chris Gayle with 26. The right-handed batsman credits Gayle for helping him become the force he is today.
Gayle has influenced Russell’s career, and a piece of advice the senior player gave him during the ICC World T20 2016 helped Russell morph into the power-hitter he is today.
“Chris Gayle changed my life in terms of power hitting. I’ve learned a lot from him," Russell said on BBC’s Doosra podcast.
“I used to use lighter bats, but when you make contact with a light bat, it doesn’t go anywhere. During the World Cup, he came to me and said, ‘Russ, you’re better than that. You can use bigger bats, you’re strong.’
“2016, when we won the (T20) World Cup in India, that year changed my life. That semi-final onwards, where I scored 48 (43) runs for West Indies. Now my bats are (bigger). There’s a lot of mechanics behind my bats, I play around with them a lot."
Russell also said that he developed his game by using smart training methods which he had picked up from the National Football League players in the United States.
“I work out like NFL players. When I went to Dallas a few years ago, that kind of changed my life into seeing how professional athletes in different sports go about their game," he said. “These guys train hard, high intensity. Even if they weren’t doing heavy weights, they were doing a lot of repetition. That’s what I use: I don’t need to get big and bulky. If I get bulky, I will bowl slow and my arm speed will get slow while batting. You need to smart about how you train.
“I train hard. I work hard in the gym, like a beast. A lot of power work. Because the stronger you are, the easier you’re going to hit certain balls."
Russell, who’s been a star performer for KKR this season, however is more than grateful for the support they have shown following the one-year ban he was handed in 2017 for a doping-code violation.
“I owe all these performances to Kolkata," he insisted. “When I got banned in 2017, I was depressed. I do not cry easily, but to see Venky Mysore (KKR CEO) take up the phone and say they were going to retain me through that time, water filled my eyes. They know me, that’s the thing about family. I owe these performances to them."