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I'll be back!

Injured Russell vows to return fitter, stronger

Sanjay Myers @ ICC Cricket World Cup In England & Wales

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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MANCHESTER, England — After pulling out of the remainder of the Cricket World Cup, the West Indies injured all-rounder Andre Russell is set to undergo surgery on his left knee tomorrow and should return to Jamaica within days.

The 31-year-old, who has had trouble with both knees in recent years, has been replaced by batsman Sunil Ambris.

Russell was limited to playing in four of the West Indies' first six games, but regularly expressed knee discomfort while batting, bowling and fielding, and was forced off the field on a number of occasions.

He told the Jamaica Observer yesterday he is downhearted to be out, but is confident that he will return stronger after the operation.

“Obviously, any player is going to be disappointed to be injured in a World Cup. Playing at the highest stage, that player would want to do well, but this knee issue has been going on for a while now,” said the West Indies cricket star.

“Once it's (the surgery) successful it will make me stay on the park longer, and I definitely will be a fitter Andre Russell. The knees have been giving me problems for years now, [but] when I get back I'll be a better cricketer in terms of my fitness level.

“I think it's a blessing for me to get the surgery done; it's a minor surgery. with the arthritis that I have in my knee they are going to try to reduce the pain and stiffness that I feel,” the Jamaican continued, while watching yesterday's contest between Bangladesh and Afghanistan on television.

He explained that the operation, which is called a keyhole surgery or laparoscopy, will involve small cuts near the affected area so that the surgeon can “go in with a camera to clean up the area, with all the damaged tissues”.

Renowned for his power hitting, pace bowling and athletic fielding, he was a key member of the West Indies team that won the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup in India.

But Russell, who has played one Test, 56 One-Day Internationals and 47 T20Is, was an injury concern ahead of the tournament due to his dodgy knees.

Earlier this year, he missed ODI matches against England in the Caribbean due to sore knees, after he was named in the squad for the latter part of that series.

However, West Indies selectors could not overlook his outstanding batting form during this season's Indian Premier League.

Russell did enjoy some success at the World Cup, taking five wickets though not completing his full complement of 10 overs in any game. But he was underwhelming with the bat, tallying only 36 runs in three innings, and was not as explosive in the field.

“Doing this surgery now here in Manchester and cleaning up my knee is [important]. I went to do an assessment the other day, and I got an idea what needs to be done. I'll basically walk out of the [operation] room. I'll just not [be able to] play because the knee will be weak, plus I'll need to do rehab and stuff. I'll need to work hard to get back the strength in my knees,” Russell explained

A highly sought after player in T20 franchise cricket around the globe, he said he is considering undergoing surgery on the other knee.

“It all depends on how the left one heals. Because it's a surgery that requires a short recovery time, if I need to do one on the right I'll do it — but it's just like testing the waters to see if it will work for me.

“I know I suffer from the same kind of stiffness in both knees. This one (left knee) has been acting up really bad for the last couple of weeks, so when I get back to recovery then I'll think about doing the other one,” he said.

Yesterday, International Cricket Council stated that its Event Technical Committee had approved the St Vincent native Ambris as Russell's replacement.

Ambris, 26, has played six ODIs and was a member of the West Indies reserve squad for the World Cup. He has been in good form in recent times, and last month scored his maiden ODI hundred — 148 — against hosts Ireland during a tri-nation series.

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