David Hussey, the chief mentor of the Kolkata Knight Riders side in IPL 2020, has said for some players, it will be difficult to hit the ground running after 5-6 months of no cricket.
The coronavirus pandemic has stalled Indian cricket for close to six months. With IPL 2020 beginning in the next 13 days, the tournament is the first major outing for Indian stars ever since April. However, Kolkata Knight Riders chief mentor David Hussey has admitted that it will be tough for some players to hit the ground running especially since there has been no cricket for the last couple of months. Hussey, who was appointed the chief mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders in November 2019, however, said that many players have just jumped upon the opportunity that they can just go out and play.
Speaking in the virtual press conference, Hussey said that with many nations not playing cricket for a long time and with overseas conditions, IPL 2020 is a level playing field like the rest of the editions.
“There are no clear favourites. It will be difficult for some of the players to come out after no cricket for 5-6 months and hit the ground running. It will be tough. We are playing in foreign conditions as well. Playing without any fans is fine. It is a privilege to play cricket again. To have witnessed the struggles throughout the world, there has not been much of sports. I know the guys are just eager to go out there and play. Even if it is in front of no crowds, the boys will put in 100 per cent,” Hussey said from Abu Dhabi.
Tom Banton the X-factor
The Kolkata Knight Riders side have balance in both the batting and bowling departments for IPL 2020. Hussey reckons that every individual in the side has X-factors but he singled out one person who is a special talent.
Tom Banton, who was purchased for Rs 1 crore by the franchise, has been in great form in the T20Is against Pakistan and in the Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat, he has been superb. Hussey called him a better version of and English legend. “What a player, Tom Banton. He is the X-factor of the team. He is the new or better version of Kevin Pietersen. Saw him playing BBL and was phenomenal,” Hussey said.
During IPL 2019, one of the major bones of contention for the Kolkata Knight Riders was the question of Andre Russell’s batting. Following the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad which they lost by 10 runs, Russell said the team needed to be flexible. When asked about pushing Russell up the order, Hussey answered in the affirmative.
“Why not? If it benefits the team and wins the team, why not? If Andre Russell comes to bat at No.3 and bats for 60 balls, he might score a double ton! Anything can happen with Dre Russ. He is the heartbeat of the team,” Hussey said.
Kolkata Knight Riders will open their IPL 2020 campaign on September 23 against the Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.