KKR 'couldn't afford' to take the risk of playing Andre Russell in IPL 2021 final: Brendon McCullum

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) suffered a defeat in the IPL 2021 final against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), with Andre Russell's absence termed as a vital factor.

Andre Russell celebrates a wicket. (Image Credit: Twitter/@IPL)
PUBLISHED: Oct 16, 20213 MINUTE READ

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) head coach Brendon McCullum stated that the franchise could not take the risk of playing all-rounder Andre Russell, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 final against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Friday. The Kolkata-based franchise suffered a defeat by a margin of 27 runs in the crucial encounter, with many terming Russell’s absence as a key factor behind the loss. The Windies all-rounder was sidelined due to a hamstring injury suffered early in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. This went on to cost KKR dear, with the franchise missing Russell’s explosiveness with the bat and ball.

“Look, Andre, he obviously had a hamstring tear earlier on in the competition. He worked unbelievably hard to try and get himself available. There was still a risk there, and it was a risk that I felt in a final, we just couldn’t afford to take,” said McCullum at the post-match press conference as quoted by Cricinfo.

“Such is the nature of hamstrings, you’re just never really sure whether they’re going to be fully healed or not. It was just such a big risk. Look, in the end, we decided to go for the guys who had done so well for us to get us into the final. I’m really proud of all their achievements. It’s a shame we fell short, but we were outplayed by a very good CSK side today,” he added.

“Eoin Morgan was captaining out of his skin”

Another factor that came back to haunt the Kolkata-based franchise was skipper Eoin Morgan’s inability to make much of an impact with the bat.

“It’s a really unique situation, isn’t it? He was captaining out of his skin. He’s captained as well as what I’ve ever seen him captain, as well as I’ve seen anyone really captain in a T20 competition. I thought he was driving the team forward with his captaincy. Unfortunately, the runs weren’t there for him, no matter how hard he tried. We tried to put him in that position where he’s been so successful, in those last five overs in T20 cricket right throughout his career. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be,” said McCullum.

“You know, there’s many examples over the years of guys who have struggled for form leading into big games who have then been able to find something in that situation to be able to get a performance. That was what I was clinging on to tonight, with both the captain and also the vice-captain [Dinesh Karthik, who had 100 runs in eight innings in UAE ]. But it wasn’t to be. Those guys, they played their hearts out, they did their absolute best, and they just weren’t quite able to get the performances they would have liked. In the end, I’m still really proud of everyone who bought into the vision that we had for the group, invested in what we’re trying to achieve, and ultimately, took us on this journey which allowed us to have some great memories, but just fell short,” he added.



WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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