Kolkata: If he's not scoring, he's making the difference with his bowling and fielding and Kolkata Knight Riders star West Indies allrounder Andre Russell says it's the team's calming reassurance that brings the best out of him.
Needing 11 runs to defend in the last over, Man of the Match Russell (4/20) claimed a wicket and ran out Axar Patel, who was looking to spoil KKR's homecoming with a seven-ball 21 that included two sixes against the Jamaican, to seal a close seven-run win.
"I think being comfortable knowing that I would play the next game, gives me a big confidence in terms of going forward. It boosts me a lot more," Russell said after their win that dislodged Gujarat Lions atop the table on net run rate.
Having scored a crucial 24-ball 39 in their win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Russell was run out for 16 last night as KKR were restricted to a modest 164/3 after skipper Gautam Gambhir (54) and Robin Uthappa (70) put on their season's highest 101-run opening partnership.
"If I was in a situation where I have to do well to play the next game, maybe I would worry about my game and would not perform the way I do. Knowing that I will play the next game, I'm confident."
"It does not matter if I make runs or take wickets, it gives me the confidence to go out there and do my thing. It's reassuring to know that the coaching staff and the captain have the confidence in you."
Less than a day after joining the team after a long flight, the West Indies World T20 winner had given it a winning start in the ongoing IPL when his 3/24 set up a nine-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils who were skittled out for 98.
"As a cricketer, I want to leave behind a legacy, set standards as high as possible. I love these challenges, enjoy bowling in the moments where I can win the game. If it goes the other way, I learn from it and take the positives. I enjoy workload and want to go from strength to strength.
"It's what I really work hard for. I know my job is not easy, it's very hard. Batting till the end and then bowling the first over, I don't mind doing it."
Russell said he did not mind batting in the death but would like to get more overs in the middle.
"At the end, I would really appreciate if I could get more time to bat. So be it, I'm just happy to be a part of this team. Wherever the skipper needs me to go bat and bowl, I want to give 100 per cent. I can't complain."
"I don't have problem batting the last five overs. No 7 is good enough for a T20 game. I'm a team man, I don't mind 160-170 with five overs to go. Even I'm fine with 150 with five overs to go. That would give confidence to go from ball from one and try to get as much runs as possible for my team."
Russell further credited likes of head coach Jacques Kallis and bowling mentor Wasim Akram for his growth as a cricketer.
"To be around with the likes of Jacques Kallis and Wasim Akram, teach me a few things about bowling. It helps me to hone my knowledge in terms of batting and bowling."
Russell has played for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash and Sylhet Royals in the Bangladesh Premier League beside featuring for Jamaica Tallawahs back home in the Caribbean Premier League.
"From playing in different parts of the world and in different tournaments. I try to learn as well. I look up to a lot more guys as key players. It gives me the confidence the way I perform at the moment. I'm just happy to be a part of the IPL and doing well. Once people know I can hit sixes and take wickets bowling fast, I would bring smiles on fans face. I do my best for my team."
Asked about Sunil Narine's omission as their ace spinner was replaced by Brad Hogg against KXIP, he said the Trinidadian is nursing a finger injury in his bowling hand.
Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan came to see their match for the first time this season and Russell said the team co-owner had extended the team best wishes before the match.
"He came to the team meeting, extended best wishes. He's there to support us we win or lose. It's a good environment. He's such a big motivator."
Updated Date: May 05, 2016 16:45 PM