Jamaica v Barbados, 2nd semi-final, CPL, Port-of-Spain August 22, 2013

Russell confident of cementing spot in national team

Renaldo Matadeen

Jamaica Tallawahs allrounder Andre Russell has been incisive in his team's march to the semi-finals of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League. With Chris Gayle and Danza Hyatt garnering the attention mostly, Russell, estranged in the Windies wilderness recently, has been an unsung hero for Jamaica, and with Barbados Tridents awaiting on Friday at the Queen's Park Oval, he is looking to cement a spot in the national team.

"I've been working hard on my batting and bowling so I am not really surprised by form at the moment," Russell said. "I'm bowling good yorkers, I'm hitting the ball cleanly and I'm waiting for my type of balls to dispatch so I'm happy. We've qualified for the semi-finals but we want to keep up that winning momentum so we just want to take it step by step."

Russell leads his team's batting average with 35.25 and is their second-highest runs-scorer with 141, behind Gayle. Russell says his recent performances were testament to the determination he has shown since losing his spot in the West Indies team. He admitted that he felt he was doing enough to register on the selectors' radar once more and the CPL would be a triumphant signal to them. "I'm feeling good. I got dropped from the West Indies team but I know what I have to do and I know how important it is for me to work harder than everyone else," said Russell, who last played for West Indies during Zimbabwe's tour of the Caribbean in March.

"As an allrounder you have to be extra fit. I've been doing a lot of work. I've played in England for Worcestershire and I've been doing a lot of running and stuff like that. Getting dropped made me stronger. I went back in the nets. I have my own training facility at home with a bowling machine so I made use of that. I know what I have to work on and I spent extra time working on those things.

"I know what it is to play international cricket and I know what it takes to stay there. I've been dropped but when I return to the West Indies team I think I will be a better player," Russell said. Russell, who has played 34 ODIs and 15 T20s for West Indies, said much of Jamaica's success had been a result of the atmosphere the senior players had created in the camp.

"The guys that we look up to like Chris Gayle and Murali… they are all fun guys and that is very important when guys like those can come and say something funny and you laugh," he said. "It really keeps the team going. Murali is a true legend - off the field, on the field - and that's one of the best things. We just have to keep going and keep doing well. We have the team and we have the confidence. Our confidence is sky high right now because winning gives you momentum."

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  • Subramani on August 24, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    For sheer athleticism he is the best in West Indies apart from being the best dressed man in Kingston ! He should consider himself a champion which he really is considering his tremendous all-round skills. Very often sportsmen do not realise how good they are and are inclined to be casual with the talent they have. The coach has a big job with this man in ODIs first. He should be asked to bat higher in the order and given the responsibility of staying for 40 overs. I can only visualise the mayhem this man will unleash. As a bowler he should be asked to bowl fast yorkers most of the time and I can only feel sorry for the opposing batsmen. Really Andre Russel is a once in a life time cricketer in the Viv Richards mould.West Indies do not realise what a gem they have. He should take his game seriously and he could be the man to watch in the 2015 WC. He has the look of a champion and he is one. I hope he has now realised how good he is.He is not just about high fives and touching feet.

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Russel should be in the T20 league first in the bang slam, then in fire( 50 overs), after 1 - 2 years performers consider to test.

  • o on August 24, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    @Sachit1979 I agree 100% He has the best eye bat/hand speed and power I might have ever seen his reflexes are remarkable ! I think he could mirror Watson's career and become a batting all-rounder rather than bowling-all-rounder or even just become a batsman. He's still young and improving If he really commits with specialist batting coach works on his technique and defence there is no reason why he cannot become a worldclass danger batsman in all formats cos my god he has raw hitting talent that's for sure !

  • ERROL on August 23, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    @Sachit1979, your team might be good for T-20 because they all can bowl a few overs and change the game and also can hit a few boundaries to change the game also, but in the longer format you need batters who can last all fifty overs and bowlers whom can bowl ten good overs each to win games.

  • Dummy4 on August 23, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    he is better than dwyane bravo , pollard and sammy. should be in odi and t20 team without a doubt

  • o on August 23, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Should be in T20 side no question along with Santokie , still not sure about ODI however as we haven't seen him much but he hasn't had much chance in format either just worried if his batting can transfer to the format he is still young and developing quickly. The thing I like most about Andre is his passion and fight also his response here "he is not surprised " he speaks his mind and is confident in himself and ability this is kind of assertive guy you want in your side.

  • dylan on August 23, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    I'm a bit surprised that Russell was dropped from the team in the first place..His ODI record is better than all three of Sammy, Bravo and Pollard but he somehow was the one who got dropped..His first class recor u d isn't too bad either, I just feel that he's been poorly used by the W.I management as has been the case with many of the players...

  • Sachit on August 23, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    With Gayle phasing off and perhaps losing on age, it won't be bad idea to try Russel as an opener in limited over formats (T20s and ODIs). He has great skills of power hitting but his bowling lacks consistency where he needs to improve. But still I think with Samuels and Pollard in mix of things, he could still survive with his batting and partial bowling.

    So what Windies needs is 2 consistent specialist batsmen (probably one of them is Darren Bravo), 3 consistent specialist bowlers (probably Holder/Rampaul, Roach and Badree/Narine), either Charles or Fletcher as keeper and 5 allrounders Samuels, Bravo, Pollard, Sammy and Russel to make it a perfect 11 for limited formats.

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