Somewhere after the 2nd PSL season, Dean Jones the successful coach of Islamabad United in stressing on the importance of Andre Russell said that he built his side around this West Indian all-rounder, he is that good. It was true at the point. Rusell scored at the rate of knots and picked up wickets as well. He was out due to his drug ban and Islamabad missed hugely in the 2nd season. He was the perfect T20 package, was the highest wicket taker of PSL season 1.
Yesterday, as he ambled it to gently release the ball, batsmen were lining up areas to hit. In 3 matches he has given away 90 runs in 9 overs, picking up just one wicket. With the bat, his highest score is 18. In the field he has been a liability. It was almost painful to see him just tug along as if there is no way out from bowling. Multan, inevitably have suffered, losing two of three matches. They match they won was on the back of tremendous bowling performance. Even in that game Russell was taken for over 10 runs per over.
Russell wasn’t retained and didn’t put in his name in the draft due to injury. However, in the replacement draft he made himself available. Multan Sultan reeling from injuries to their picks including their platinum pick Steve Smith, punted on him. It reflects poorly on the player himself the scouting team of Sultans. He is so clearly injured. However, the problem looks more serious than just an injury. His average pace in the PSL has been 127 kph. Only 36% of his deliveries were above 133 kph. Year on year from 2014, his pace has been dropping consistently.
It does seem like the T20 freelance life is finally catching up with the all-rounder. With IPL following PSL, Russell is expected to turn out for Kolkata Knightriders. Ideally, he should have sat out at least PSL to recover from the injury.
But Multan Sultans are suffering because they backed a big name, rather than going on current form. KK’s team management would be watching this, somewhere, somehow even if PSL streaming is banned in India.