Too much risk to play Russell in the final, McCullum saysSunday, October 17, 2021
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) Coach Brendon McCullum said it was too much of a risk to play West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell in the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday.
Russell, 33, missed the final with a hamstring injury as Chennai Super Kings (CSK), whose line-up included another West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, won by 27 runs to capture their fourth IPL title.
McCullum, the former New Zealand captain, said leaving Russell out of the final 11 was a difficult, but necessary choice for KKR.
“Look, Andre, he obviously had a hamstring tear earlier on in the competition,” McCullum said at the post-play media conference after the IPL final.
“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.”
McCullum added: “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.”
The absence of Russell in the IPL final now becomes a headache for West Indies ahead of their opening match in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Twenty20 World Cup against England on October 23, leaving him seven days to prove his fitness.
The all-rounder played only three of 10 matches for KKR in the UAE leg of this year's IPL, with his last match on September 26, nearly three weeks before the October 15 final.