Dubai: The Kolkata Knight Riders’ Australian coach David Hussey hinted on Sunday that there could be a major shake-up in the playing XI after the team lost to Rajasthan Royals by six wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Wankhede Stadium.
The KKR mentor hinted that West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell could be pushed up the order in the upcoming matches while New Zealand’s right-arm fast bowler Lockie Ferguson may be included in the playing XI.
“We just needed to get a partnership going at that (crucial) stage when Andre Russell was ready to come in next and plays at his scintillating best. May be, when he has 3 or 4 overs to go, Russell can hit say 30 or 40 runs off about 15 balls,” the former Australian cricketer said, adding that, “In a perfect world, Russell can go at No. 3 and make 200, I guess. But it wasn’t to be tonight, and we’ll look at all the strategies going forward as we take on Punjab Kings in a couple of days’ time and everything’s on the table.”
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On whether New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson could get a look-in in the next match, Hussey said, “Well, he is probably the pick of his pals. He’s a class act, an excellent bowler for New Zealand. He played particularly well for Kolkata Knight Riders last year. And he’s going to push for selection over the remaining games. I think everyone’s on the table in terms of selection, and we have some tough decision to make because we have to start winning some games.”
Young opener Shubman Gill has scored only 80 runs in the five IPL innings this season, failing to give KKR the start they need. On Saturday against Rajasthan, he could only manage 11 off 19 deliveries. But Hussey defended the player, saying: “Gill’s class is permanent and he will end up scoring the most runs in IPL 2021.
“He took the Test arena by storm in Australia (when India toured Down Under). The way he works on his game, in the nets, he’s very specific. He has a great work ethic. So all I can say is probably that form will come and go but class is always permanent. He’s one class individual off the field, but also an exceptionally talented player on the field. Mark my words, I think, he would be one of the highest-scoring batsmen by the end of the tournament. He is an absolute class act.”