Russell unfazed by Windies slump in Ireland

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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JAMAICAN all-rounder Andre Russell is optimistic of the West Indies' chances at the 2019 Cricket World Cup despite disappointing results during the recent One-Day International (ODI) Tri-nation series in Ireland.

“We are a good team, in spite of what happened in Ireland against Bangladesh. Fans don't need to pay that any mind because a few of us who would be in the [World Cup] 11 were not there,” said the 31-year-old, who is among several prominent regional players in the World Cup squad who did not make the trip to Ireland due to Indian Premier League duties.

During the Tri-nation series group stage earlier this month, the under-strength West Indies lost to Bangladesh twice, but two victories over Ireland handed them a place in the final against the Asian outfit.

However, Bangladesh emphasised their dominance over the Caribbean men, winning the championship trophy in a rain-abbreviated contest.

Russell departed the island on Sunday for the global 50-over cricket showpiece, which is set to run from May 30 to July 14 in England and Wales.

“We have to make sure we get the job done. We have a good team, the selectors have done well to get a good, balanced team, and I just think that once the batters score runs we have the opportunity to defend it with the bowlers we have. This is England, so once we bowl good areas and stick to the plan we can hurt teams,” he said.

Russell, a key member of the West Indies team that won the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup in India in 2016, is a prized asset thanks to his sheer batting power, sharp pace bowling and electric fielding.

He has played one Test, 52 ODIs and 47 T20 Internationals, but injury has sidelined him of late. Earlier this year, he was named in the West Indies squad for the latter part of the ODI series against touring England, but recurring knee problems meant he did not take part.

His most recent outing for the West Indies was in a T20 game against visiting Bangladesh in Florida in August last year. His last ODI was against the same opposition in Guyana a month earlier.

The explosive all-rounder said things have been looking up since the England setback.

“I'm feeling fit; I'm in good condition. I've been pushing my body and working hard. I have the World Cup coming up, so I'm making sure I'm ready for that.

“My knees [are] feeling a lot better; I can run, I can move around — I would be ungrateful if I said I'm not where I want to be, because a few months ago I couldn't even run properly. I'm giving thanks and I appreciate the hard work the physiotherapists and everyone have put in behind the scenes,” Russell said.

He gave a peek into his form on Saturday while playing for St Catherine CC in the local T20 club competition. Russell made 88 and claimed 2-12 in his team's loss to St Elizabeth CA in Treadlight, Clarendon.

“I'm looking forward to a World Cup [in which] I'm hitting the ball well, and the ball is also coming out of my hand well. I'm just focused on getting there, getting acclimatised, and getting my body right.

“I'm looking forward to contributing with bat or with ball, or if I need to take a brilliant catch, I do that as well. I always leave it on the field, so whatever I get the chance to do I want to do it to the best of my ability,” he said.

World Cup squad — Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Christopher Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.

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