New Delhi, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell, who has been in brilliant form in the ongoing 12th edition of IPL, has lauded his teammate Chris Gayle for changing his life in terms of power hitting.
“Chris Gayle changed my life in terms of power hitting. I’ve learned a lot from him,” BBC quoted Russel as saying adding that he used lighter bats “but when you make contact with a light bat, it doesn’t go anywhere. During the World Cup, he came to me and said, ‘Russ, you’re better than that. You can use bigger bats, you’re strong.” Russel said.
Reminiscing the 2016 T-20 World Cup which changed his life, Russel said,” That semi-final onwards, where I scored 48 (43) runs for West Indies. Now my bats are [bigger]. There’s a lot of mechanics behind my bats, I play around with them a lot”.
Russel, who has scored 377 runs in nine matches, also revealed that watching National Football League (NFL) players in the US gave him a different perspective of power training.
“I work out like NFL players. When I went to Dallas a few years ago, that kind of changed my life into seeing how professional athletes in different sport go about their game,” he said. “These guys train hard, high intensity. Even if they weren’t doing heavy weights, they were doing a lot of repetition. That’s what I use: I don’t need to get big and bulky. If I get bulky, I will bowl slow and my arm speed will get slow while batting. You need to smart about how you train.
“I train hard. I work hard in the gym, like a beast. A lot of power work. Because the stronger you are, the easier you’re going to hit certain balls,” he added.
On Friday, when the all-rounder came into bat, 135 runs were needed off 49 balls, however, he kept KKR in the chase right till the last over, smashing nine sixes and two fours in his 65 runs knock off 25 balls. In the last over, KKR needed 24 runs. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s spinner Moeen Ali held his nerve to get his team over the line.
Russel has been a key player for KKR. The 30-year-old feels he owes such performances to Kolkata, after the support they extended towards him following the one-year ban he was handed in 2017 for a doping-code violation, ICC reported.
“I owe all these performances to Kolkata,” he said. “When I got banned in 2017, I was depressed. I do not cry easily, but to see Venky Mysore [KKR CEO] take up the phone and say they were going to retain me through that time, water filled my eyes. They know me, that’s the thing about family. I owe these performances to them,” he added.