Russell’s performance in the recent past has been consistent with the ball as he has picked 13 wickets in his last 10 matches (including CPL 2021), making him an important member of the KKR bowling setup. However, the same couldn’t be said about his batting with as the last 10 matches also saw him produced an innings beyond the score of 30 just once in the last 10 games.
Russell’s form (163 runs in 8 games), or lack of it, has become a cause of concern for the Kolkata outfit, who have been making desperate attempts to be in the title run for the past two-three seasons including a change in captaincy. Alarmingly, Russell has crossed the 50-mark just once in the last 20 innings in IPL after his weakness against short deliveries directed at his chest has been found out.
He had a pale outing at the recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League, where he scored a personal season-best of unsatisfactory 31; putting his batting credentials as a reliable match-winner further in doubt. However, a closer look suggests that the batsman never had a settled batting position with the Jamaican Tallawahs as he was being rotated at several batting positions including as low as NO. 8. It could be understood that the idea was to exploit the pinch-hitter at the death overs but scoring at a strike rate of 142.85 suggests the plan didn’t really work.
For comparison, the burly Jamaican has scored at strike rates of 200.5 and 175.5 at batting positions 5 and 6 respectively over the last three years. For KKR, the strike rate gets as high as 244.8 and 184.5 at the respective batting slots.
A glance at his overall T20 career also suggests that the batsmen is best suited in the middle-order.
Performance Analysis by Batting Position in IPL
In T20I for West Indies
Statistics credit: Howstats
This only suggests that it will be wiser to play him at batting position where he does most of the damage and let him settle instead of holding him for the deaths and overburden him with the responsibility of going for the kill from the word go.