Chris Gayle's Advice Of Using Bigger Bats Has Helped Me: Andre Russell
Andre Russell terms his knock played in the 2016 T20 World Cup as the moment that changed his life.
Explosive power and consistency are two traits which are not often found simultaneously in a single player. But when players do master these two aspects of the game, the outcome is a visual treat for the cricket fans. One player who seems to have mastered this rare combination is Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) West Indies import Andre Russell. Nicknamed 'DreRuss', the Jamaican has taken consistent explosiveness to a whole new level in the ongoing Indian Premiere League (IPL) 2019.
He is leading the chart when it comes to the best batting strike rates and his consistency is reflected by the 392 runs scored in 10 innings at an astounding average of 65.33.
Russell has hit 41 sixes so far this season and is trailed by fellow Jamaican Chris Gayle (31 sixes) whose advice helped him become the hard-hitter he is today.
"Chris Gayle changed my life in terms of power hitting. I've learned a lot from him," icc-cricket.com quoted Russell as saying to 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 (Gayle) came to me and said, 'Russ, you're better than that. You can use bigger bats, you're strong'," Russell added.
The KKR all-rounder described his knock played during 2016 T20 World Cup in India as the moment that changed his life. Describing that knock, he said, "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."
The 30-year old has a special place for the Kolkata-based franchise in his heart as the management stood by him during his tough times. "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."
The KKR star has repaid that faith with his consistent power-hitting and helping his side win matches single-handedly, on more than one occasion.