Andre Russell, the attacking all-rounder for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), is arguably one of the most dangerous batsman in the IPL. In last year’s tournament, Russell was the recipient of the Maximum Sixes Award, having smashed an impressive 52 past his opponents.
His batting is not the only reason he has earned a fearsome reputation on the pitch though. Russell can also bowl at speeds approaching 150km. His success has earned him a number of nicknames among his fans including Danger Russ, Muscle Russ and finally Dre Russ, in reference to his passion for music.
Speaking at Zurich Middle East’s Cricket Sixes in February, he joked, “Dre Russ is my music name, translated into the cricket. Muscle Russell comes, obviously, from my guns.”
Russell’s guns, or impressive biceps, aren’t a result of the cricketer not putting in the work though or taking anything for granted. He admits to being a fan of push-ups and sit-ups and says that any budding big hitters should focus on their base and core strength, especially going through the shoulders.
“Exercise needs to be balanced though,” he says. “Don’t put too much focus on the upper body strength and ignore leg work. You need to strengthen the whole body and core strength is especially important to generate power in any sport.”
This year the KKR star’s bat is sponsored by Zurich Middle East. Earlier in the year, Russell took time out to coach the next generation of cricket hopefuls at an event organised by the insurer.
And, his key message for any ambitious young cricketers is to avoid complacency if they are going to be ready for life.
“Never take nothing for granted,” he says. “I love spending time coaching kids and teaching them the different aspects of the game but the main piece of advice to them is never take anything for granted and train hard.”
Zurich Middle East supports and promotes the importance of living an active and healthy life through its #readyforlife ethos and this includes supporting grassroots cricket. Community events are held and world-class players and coaches are brought in to encourage and nurture the spirit of youth and the region’s young talent.
“Through our cricket events we hope to inspire a new wave of enthusiasts to this amazing game and simultaneously help them learn to enjoy regular sports and exercise. At Zurich, we don’t believe in complacency and we aim to empower our individuals to take control of their health, their futures and be ready for life.” says Walter Jopp, CEO at Zurich Middle East.
“We are also proud to be the official bat sponsor for one of the most exciting talents in the IPL and we’re excited to see the players competing in the UAE this year.”
Zurich’s #readyforlife philosophy also empowers people to take control of their financial futures through its powerful solutions and products. The recently launched life and critical illness digital insurance products - YourLife and YourCare – are both designed to offer affordable and convenient cover to customers who, like Russell, realise you can never take anything for granted in life.
As a result of this year’s events, the IPL is currently being contested in the UAE and Russell says he is a fan of the country, despite the unfortunate absence of crowds at the tournament. “I always enjoy coming to the UAE and the IPL makes it extra special,” he says.
He is also confident he can reach the same high level of form he achieved in the previous season. Speaking in an IPL interview ahead of the KKR’s match with the Mumbai Indians on September 26, Russell was asked about how his bowling arm was, shooting back, “Loose like a goose and ready to go.”
But, arguably it’s his batting that the all-rounder is most feared for. In fact, Russell himself says, “Zurich Middle East is now the sponsor of the world’s most explosive cricket bat.”
To participate in Zurich Middle East’s IPL competition, please visit here.