Andre Russell wants to play for KKR until retirement
Caribbean all-rounder Andre Russell revealed his passion for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He made it clear that he gets the most goosebumps when he plays Indian Premier League (IPL) and there is no comparison to the crowd at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata and wants to play for this franchise until his retirement.
He said that he gets a completely different feeling when he is ready to bowl and crowd shouts cheering his name. He named it an immense pleasure. This Caribbean batting monster would have played IPL for the seventh times with KKR, if 2020 session of IPL didn’t postpone due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“Let me confess something. IPL is where I get the most goosebumps when I am playing cricket. I get that in the CPL (Caribbean Premier League) as well, but when it comes to playing in the IPL, especially at Eden Gardens, there is no comparison to that crowd,”
Russell said in an interview with KKR.
“When I walk out before facing a ball, I have goosebumps all over me because of the welcome that I get. That’s pure love, and yes it puts pressure on me. But it’s a good kind of pressure.
“When Kolkata needs 12 or 13 runs per over, with only 5 overs to go — I love those moments, and the crowd really allows me to do what I need to do. I get a feeling they are telling me: ‘Listen, we have got your back, so just go out and do your business,” said Russell.
Andre Russell made his IPL debut in 2012 for Delhi Daredevils. But they realized his true potential when the Kolkata-based franchise picked him ahead of IPL 2014 for only 60 lakhs Rupees. Although he played only 4 games for KKR that season and they won the title for the second time in IPL history.
Russell became a regular member of playing XI from 2015. He has been an indispensable part for the team from then. He was among the two cricketers KKR retained in 2018 IPL along with another Caribbean Sunil Narine.
“If everyone was sad, and there was no noise, no entrance, that would maybe make me feel the pressure more. But I know even if I fail two games straight, when I come out to bat for the third game, it is the same deafening reaction I will get from the crowd. It’s always a welcoming thing.”
Russell exposed what he will say when the time comes to an end for him with this franchise. In Eden Gardens, his farewell speech would be, “Just like players in big (football) leagues like English Premier League, or the Basketball guys (at NBA) retiring from the sport say ‘okay, this is my last game’ and they wave goodbye to the crowd — I imagine I would love to be at KKR until that moment in my career,” said Russell.
“I’d say, ‘Listen, Shah Rukh (KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan), all the KKR staff, everyone. This will be my last IPL and the last home game playing in Kolkata. It would be such an emotional moment.
“I sometimes watch videos and I see footballers crying and I’m wondering if I would actually cry, but that’s the special thing about playing at a club for so long and getting so attached,” he said.
Russell hopes that KKR might win the third title very soon, “You know someday you’re going to go out. I’ve been at KKR for 6 seasons now and I enjoy every bit — getting the MVP award and all is good, but I want more. I really need that cup as well, and I am really hoping that we can have the IPL this year, so we can become the Champions,” he said.