West Indies allrounder Andre Russell will lead two-time Caribbean Premier League champions Jamaica Tallawahs during the 2018 season. Russell, who missed the previous season because of a doping violation that earned him a year-long ban, will take over from Kumar Sangakkara. The former Sri Lanka captain led the franchise to the Eliminator in 2017.
"It's a good feeling, honestly, I missed out last year due to one-year suspension. I'm looking forward to it," Russell said. "Not just looking forward to play but looking forward to being the captain for the Jamaica Tallawahs, as well and looking forward to doing a good job."
Russell has been fairly busy since his suspension ended in January, having played an entire season for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL despite a hamstring niggle. Russell's addition lent Knight Riders depth, with the allrounder scoring 316 runs in 14 innings, apart from picking up 13 wickets.
Apart from Russell, Tallawahs' roster is full of big names including Ross Taylor, David Miller and the Pakistan allrounders Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.
"We have a very good, balanced team. We have a team that is not just about the names, it's all about what they can do as well and how quickly they can change the game," Russell said. "I truly believe in allrounders in T20 cricket and I think that's what we have. I think we have guys that can bat and bowl and once you have eight guys in a team that can do that, I think you have a good team on paper."
He was particularly excited to be captaining a T20 stalwart like Afridi, who continues to be a regular in franchise T20 leagues despite having retired from international cricket.
"It's going to be interesting, I've played against Shahid before, he's a good guy. Even in Dubai after we played, we went out on a boat together, we just enjoy each other's company," Russell said. "To be around a guy like Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad and all these guys, it just show a different type of how they live, and how simple they are apart from the game.
"But, it's good to have [Afridi] in the CPL this year and not just playing against him, playing with him as well, because I hope I can learn a few things and take it along with me."
Russell has a few personal targets for the tournament, but doesn't want to make it public. "I always set personal goals but I don't let it out loud because I don't want to say I want 20 wickets, 30 wickets and I only get 10," he said. "It's always good to have your personal goals but I don't like to say it out loud. Every player want to get wickets, take a lot of catches, score runs, but I have my personal goals and I just hope I can achieve them."