Andre Russell is a freak of nature. And some of cricket's best minds not only appreciate that fact but also expects the Jamaican to show his true range in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). (More Cricket News)
Former Australia cricketer David Hussey, now mentoring Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), believes that Russell can become the first player to hit a double hundred in T20.
Russel's fellow Jamaican marauder Chris Gayle holds the record for the highest individual score in T20s, an unbeaten 175 off 66 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore against now-defunct Warriors in IPL 2013.
"If it benefits the team and helps us win games of cricket, why not? If that means Andre Russell comes in at three and bats 60 balls, he might actually make a double hundred. Anything can happen with Dre Russ," Hussey said in a news conference in Abu Dhabi, where KKR will play their first game against Mumbai Indians on September 23.
The star Jamaican, who was adjudged the Most Valuable Player last season, had blamed some "bad decisions" for the two-time former champions missing out on the playoffs.
In fact, his highest score in T20s is an unbeaten 121 off 49 for Jamaica Tallawahs in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2018 against Jamaica Tallawahs. In the IPL, his highest score is 88. But some of the knocks he played in the league clearly had the markings of becoming great ones. It's only that he hardly got the time, the balls.
Now, as Hussey claimed, KKR are thinking of different combinations this season, including the promotion of Russell at number three.
Terming Russell as the heartbeat of the team, the former Australia cricketer said: "A fantastic player, he is probably almost the heartbeat of the team as well.
"We've actually got really a well-balanced team... Anyone can bat in any different position. But if it benefits the team, why not, why can't he bat up the list."
KKR have an all-new coaching set-up in former New Zealand captain McCullum as head coach, Hussey as a mentor and Kyle Mills as the bowling coach.
Under McCulum, KKR will look for combinations that can take on the bowlers, Hussey said.
"Anyone who knows Brendon McCullum is aware that he plays the game at 100 miles per hour, and he tries to encourage the players to take the game on. So we've got players who can take the game on, players who can fit in the anchor role."
Eoin Morgan will be seen as Dinesh Karthik's deputy and Hussey hoped that England's World Cup-winning skipper proves to be a good ally with his calm head.
"He is a huge name, World Cup-winning captain, captain of England for a long time, classy player, classy performer.
"He is also going to be a great ally for Dinesh Karthik, maybe fielding in the ring and talking to the bowlers with our captain behind the stumps," he said of Morgan.
Hussey added, "He is a very cool, calm and collected person. He's also going to be very heavy in the middle order controlling things.
"I do expect them to both have a really good relationship on and off the field and I think it's going to go a long way to having a cool and calm head to winning many games during a very tight tournament."
(With PTI inputs)