Opinion Cricket

IPL 2019: How Andre Russell has become the new king of T20 cricket?

CT Contributors Updated: 6 April, 2019, 11:17 AM IST


Andre Russell is having the form of his life at the moment. The powerful West Indies all-rounder has come into IPL 2019 and bossed the field. There hasn't been anyone as destructive as the explosive Russell. His eye for details has helped Kolkata Knight Riders earn victories from difficult situations. For the fourth game in a row, Russell showed his magic in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season.

KKR have managed to seal three wins out of four matches in IPL 12. They sit second on the table and it's all because of one man - Andre Russell. The big-hitting all-rounder has played shots all around the park and its sheer madness to watch him attack bowlers at the death with such finesse. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals and now Royal Challengers Bangalore faced the brunt of Russell's power.

The stage is almost set for this man. He comes in towards the end and pulls off the magic tricks from the hat. His hand and eye coordination is just superb. Be it clearing one leg and hammering bowlers through mid-wicket region or dispatching length balls straight down the wicket, Russell is a sensation. Lower full-tosses are dispatched at ease with the right-handed batsman playing the short-arm jab. This is extraordinary batting.

Russell like 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle has developed a knack of hitting sixes. Gayle has truly been the king of T20s and he has mastered the format for so many years. The 39-year-old Gayle is an outright opener who comes in and sets the tempo. We have seen Gayle being destructive against the world's best bowlers over the years. Now Russell is doing the same in the IPL in particular. He is more of a finisher though and the role is different from Gayle. But when it comes to effortless six-hitting, Russell has shown flashes of the legendary Gayle.

In the IPL 12 season, Russell has notched scores of 49*, 48, 62 and 48*. His monstrous hits silenced SRH at the Eden Gardens. It was a match SRH had it in their pockets. Against KXIP, Russell's brilliance helped KKR get those extra runs and that was the difference in the end. Against DC, his superb show on a slow pitch got KKR to a decent total after the struggles they faced. And now against RCB, he guided the side to a victory from an unthinkable position.

Russell has the best strike-rate this season (268.83). He has hit the most in IPL 2019 (22). And he is only the third batsman to go past 200 runs this term. His calm presence and persona is a true identity of the confidence that follows. Russell does weird things in terms of shot-making and his absolute power makes him the king of T20 cricket.

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News Cricket

Afghanistan players upset with new World Cup captain appointment

AP Updated: 6 April, 2019, 10:05 AM IST


Gulbadin Naib's appointment as Afghanistan's captain for the cricket World Cup has not gone down well with the team's two senior players.

Rashid Khan, who was named Twenty20 skipper, and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi have criticized the selection committee's decision to remove Asghar Afghan from the captaincy in all the three formats.

"Being a senior member of the side (and) having seen the rise of Afghanistan cricket, I don't think it's the right time to change the captain before the WC," Nabi wrote on Twitter .

Nabi also felt the team gelled under the leadership of Afghan, who he thought was the right man to lead Afghanistan in the World Cup in England and Wales beginning in May.

Rashid, the world's top-ranked Twenty20 leg-spinner, also shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing that he disagrees "with the decision as it is irresponsible (and shows) bias" and that Afghan's "captaincy is highly instrumental for team success."

"With just months to go for such a mega event like World Cup, changing the captain will cause uncertainty and also team morale will be affected," he wrote.

Afghan was stripped of the test captaincy after leading Afghanistan to a historic victory over Ireland in only its second test match last month. Middle-order batsman Rahmat Shah has replaced Afghan as the test captain.

Chief selector Dawalt Ahmadzai defended his decision to appoint Naib as captain for the World Cup, saying it was for the better future of the team.

"Asghar Afghan, who captained team Afghanistan for a period of around four years, achieved a lot and made the country proud, and I hope Gulbadin Naib will be able to continue his legacy at the helm of the team's affairs," Ahmadzai said in a statement.

Afghanistan will open its World Cup campaign against defending world champion Australia on June 1 in Bristol.

A 23-member Afghanistan squad left on Friday for South Africa, where it will play six practice matches during the training camp.

Ahmadzai said the team will return to Kabul, at which point a 15-member World Cup squad will be announced.

News Cricket

Tom Moody names his favorites for World Cup, leaves out his own country

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 April, 2019, 5:36 PM IST


Sunrisers Hyderabad's coach, Tom Moody is a happy man at the moment. His team Hyderabad are currently the table toppers in IPL's points table. They are absolutely on fire. At present, IPL is capturing everyone's attention but still, people are eagerly awaiting the inception of the Cricket World Cup that will take place in England and Wales from May 30.

SRH coach Tom Moody named India and England as favorites for the ICC showpiece event. "The standouts are India and England. They are absolute certainties to be in the top four. What is exciting about this World Cup is a number of sides can easily find thems