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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