'I'd ask Gayle if he has an angry face'
What did your mother think of your $450,000 IPL contract?
My mom teaches at a school - she teaches kindergarten kids. She didn't know really what to say to me on the phone. I know that she was proud and happy for her one and only son - that he has worked hard and achieved all of these things.
When did you hear about your IPL contract?
The Caribbean T20 was going on. I was sleeping. I get up in the morning and see a BBM [a message on the BlackBerry] from my agent, saying, "Congratulations, you go for a whopping 450", and I was like "What?" Then I remembered he had said that the auction was in the night, Caribbean time. So everything clicked in my head. I saw about 40 messages from my contacts saying congrats. It was fun. The auction was serious but it was the best BBM I ever got on my phone.
But you do 3am push-ups when the West Indies call?
That was when I got the call for the West Indian A team. I was in England and I got a call from Clyde Butts, the chairman of selectors. Again, I was sleeping, and he says, "Wake up, man, I've got good news for you. You have been selected in the West Indies A team." It was, like, a Friday, and the league team I played for didn't have a game on Saturday, but Clyde told me that he was going to allow me to join the team on Monday. After he got off the phone I couldn't go back to sleep. I was up all night doing push-ups, sit-ups, just doing the workout for the night. Just in case they called me at 5am, I'd be warmed up and ready!
Are you the fittest person in the Delhi Daredevils squad?
Well, my body is used to doing push-ups and sit-ups. Whenever I'm doing them, I don't feel it to be strenuous. I have to do a lot, about 10-20 push-ups before a shower. It's like a daily routine. So even if I rush into the shower and don't remember to do it, as soon as I come out of the shower, I do ten push-ups. It's a habit for me.
In terms of the gym, I'm not a big fan. I use my body weight to maintain my strength. Whenever I go in the gym I'm like this little weak kid. I can't bench-press much. Most guys would be doing 150-160-170 up. I'm like struggling with 140, I'm telling you. But to hit a ball out of the ground, that's very easy. To bowl a ball close to 90 [mph], I can do that.
You're Jamaican. How quick are you over 100 metres?
The last time I did one was in my school days. It was 10.45 [seconds], but that was very fast.
Is there anyone in the Daredevils side who can beat you over 100 metres?
I'm not sure - probably [David] Warner, because he's very quick.
If Chris Gayle said he would share one secret with you, what would you ask him?
Well, I would ask him when he gets angry. I would really ask him that. "When do you get angry and it shows in your face?" Because since I've been around Chris, I've heard it in his voice. Whenever he gets really angry, he kind of gets a tremble in his voice, and I just know that he's about to blow. But you can't see it on his face. It just goes to show you that God makes different types of people.
Even when he's angry, he's just sitting there, just looking around. Even if you call him or you are behind him, he's not going to give you a brisk look back. He is going to take his time and look back. That's how he is. That is why they call him Crampy. He is actually one of my heroes and he is showcasing it in the IPL as well. He has amazing strength and timing of the ball. It doesn't matter how strong you are, if you don't time the cricket ball, you are not going to get it where you want. Whenever Delhi play against him… Chris, you are my star man, but I would love to get you out very cheaply because I know the damage you can do.
What's the significance of the No. 12? It's in your Twitter handle, to start with…
The number that I always loved was 99. But when I got selected for the West Indies they just gave me a number, and when I got my jersey I see 12. So from that day I work with AR12 or Russell 12. I've even made a design, like a logo of it. In the future, in the next year or so I really want to take it to the next level where I come out with... not really a clothes line or something, but a trademark of Andre Russell, so AR12.
Do you consider yourself to be fashionable? Can anyone match you in style in the IPL?
I do, but there are many cricketers out there who just wear anything. The thing is, I'm from Jamaica and we like to wear flashy things and swagger. Being here, it doesn't give me the motivation to dress up and put on my fancy clothes, because everyone here is, like, t-shirt and jeans. If I'm going to wear something fashionable, I'm going to be standing out. I just want to fit in, you know. I don't want to look too loud so that everyone's looking at me and saying, 'Look at that guy dressing.'
Is that why your hairstyle is so subdued these days?
I don't see anyone with a hairstyle that is similar to mine. But I must say Kevin Pietersen - the way he cuts his hair or the way it grows on his head, it just looks kind of funny, but it's unique.
Do you have a hairstylist back home?
I normally cut my hair in one barber shop. So whenever I go there I don't have to tell the guy. I just sit in the chair and he knows what to do. The shop is called Style View and the barber, I call him Long Beard, but his name is Ricky.
Which crowd is noisier among the two Twenty20 leagues you've played in - Bangladesh or India?
Must be India. Just for Tendulkar and Sehwag, one of those guys, to walk out on the field or to appear on the screen, it's like the team wins. There is this loud shout. It's serious. The biggest crowd we would have played was in the World Cup in India, when we were going to play in Chennai. My god, there was big noise there! That game, when Tendulkar came to the crease, it was the first time I'm hearing so much noise. Everyone is screaming… they don't care if you are a baby in the crowd, everyone is screaming. I was on the rope and when Tendulkar got out, if you just clapped everyone could hear it. When he got out the crowd was so silent. They had their hands on their heads and they just wanted to go home.
Who's your best mate in cricket?
Nelon Pascal from Grenada. He's played for the West Indies as well, and we have a very good relationship. Outside the Caribbean, I've met a lot of nice guys behind the scenes.
Who's the biggest eater in the Daredevils squad?
To be honest, whenever we are in the changing room everyone just takes a little snack or a little thing, so it looks a bit like the biggest eater is me. Most of the times, I go back for seconds, and everyone is just sitting there and, like, they are full and stuffed up. I'm going, "Come on."
Who's the most talkative among them?
I think it's [Glenn] Maxwell. He talks about everything, Maxwell. I call him Stiffler because he's like that guy in the movie American Pie, where he does all the funny things. Whenever we are playing or at a hotel or at a team party, Maxwell just always does something hilarious to give us a laugh. Whenever he is dancing, everyone is looking at him because we know he's going to do something stupid or something for us to laugh at. He's really funny and I really like him.
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo