Former KKR captain Gautam Gambhir recalls how Kolkata Knight Riders ended up finding Andre Russell.

Andre Russell of Kolkata Knight Riders celebrates the wicket of Marcus Stoinis of Kings XI Punjab during match 32 of the Vivo Indian Premier League ( IPL ) 2016 between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Kings XI Punjab held at the Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on the 4th May 2016 Photo by Ron Gaunt / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Andre Russell has been on a terrific form in this season of the Indian Premier League. His 13-ball innings against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he scored 48 runs that helped chase down 206 runs target is probably the greatest batting performance in T20 cricket.

KKR needed 66 runs off the last 24 deliveries, Russell hit seven sixes and snatched away the victory from the hands-off RCB. KKR chased the target with five balls to spare. This season he has played 77 deliveries so far and scored nearly 2017 runs with a strike rate of over 260.

Photo by Ron Gaunt / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Former Kolkata Knight Rider skipper and retired Indian opener Gautam Gambhir recalls how the franchise ended up finding the Carribean star.

A lot of people ask me how KKR discovered Andre Russell. Was it modern-day cricket analytics? Was it a genius head-hunter who recommended him? Or was it a masterstroke at the auction table?

Being a former KKR captain I can tell you that it was none of the above. It was a classic case of not finding a table at the best Italian restaurant in your city and ending up at a lesser known joint. Let me explain,” Gambhir wrote in his column in The Times of India.

In 2013-14 we were searching for a backup for the great Jacques Kallis. One of the very few options available was Russell. Till then he had played two seasons for Delhi. With 58 runs in seven games, Russell was the lesser-known Italian joint waving at the customers passing by.

They would stop, look, ponder, and move on. KKR booked a table purely as there was no choice. And the Rs 60 lakh price tag for Russell didn’t hurt at all.


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