In the second leg of the IPL it seemed like Russell had found his form back. It was good news for the Kolkata Knight Riders, until he had his hamstring pull. The injury took him out of the remainder of the tournament. This meant that KKR had to experiment and replace him in the playing XI.
Shakib Al Hasan, who has proved his worth in earlier seasons was picked. Although he has been vital for KKR before, this time his form was not consistent enough to give KKR that middle order balance they required. Especially with Captain Morgan’s form not being up to the mark as a batsman, KKR’s middle order was doomed to fail.
McCullum after the finals defeat said KKR “Couldn’t afford” picking a 80% fit Russell over any other player.
“Look, Andre, he obviously had a hamstring tear earlier on in the competition. 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 said at the post-match press conference.