'Want to raise my bat' - Russell
West Indies allrounder Andre Russell has admitted he has not yet performed to his standard in the Pakistan Super League so far. Russell has scored 77 runs and taken eight wickets in seven matches for Islamabad United. On the eve of the eliminator against Karachi Kings, Russell said he had a clear goal: to "raise the bat" and keep Islamabad's hopes of making the inaugural final alive.
"I still haven't done whatever I want to. I still haven't achieved what I want to achieve as yet playing for Islamabad," Russell told ESPNcricinfo on Friday. "And as of tomorrow I want to start that. I know whenever I go to bat, people are expecting big sixes and me to raise my bat. I haven't raised my bat in months now. And I want to start that tomorrow."
Russell was named the Man of the Series of the IPL last year, where he played for Kolkata Knight Riders. He was also one of the best allrounders in the recently concluded Big Bash League, where his team Sydney Thunder won for the first time. His overall strike rate in T20s is 166.89, the highest among all 2000-plus run-getters. Still, Russell admits he is not the finished product.
Despite his on-field performances not being spectacular, Russell said the PSL has been a good learning experience. "I know for sure by the time I leave, I'm going to learn a lot about how to play against left-arm orthodox. These teams have a lot of these spinners, boy. Even in the nets you would see them."
Even though Russell has been occasionally limited against spinners, he believes his game can overcome those obstacles. "At the end of the day playing spin is crucial in any form of the game, but in T20 cricket I don't worry about spinners. I would prefer to bat spin more than pace. I love when the ball coming on (to the bat), but I would be more confident playing a shot against a spinner because I know that I have nothing to fear. If he spins the ball, he'll beat me. Alright, he beat me. If I hit him for six, I win. I can sweep, but with my power I don't really need to sweep sometime. But I can sweep to rotate strike."
Russell also said he was impressed by the emerging talent on show in the PSL. "A lot of talent in the PSL. This reminds me of playing in the Caribbean where you see so many (talented) guys. I ask a lot of of local guys here 'Does this guy plays for Pakistan? I think he should play for Pakistan' Russell said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo