Russell targets A tour of India for WI comeback
Andre Russell, the Jamaican allrounder, is eager to carry over his outstanding Caribbean Premier League form for winners Jamaica Tallawahs into the West Indies A tour of India in September. Russell finished sixth in the CPL top-scorers chart with 203 runs made with at a league-leading strike-rate of 189.71.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to get back into the West Indies setup," Russell said. "A team cricket is the next step from the international scene. I will remain positive and try to be as successful as possible with the bat and the ball. It'll be hard work in the hot sun in India. I'm resting up right now and looking to get my fitness up."
Russell said his past experiences in visiting India with West Indies as well as a stint with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL would be beneficial for the A tour. Regarding the trying conditions in India, he said, "The IPL games are night games but it's still humid. Playing in the day or day-night, whatever conditions, I'll try to adjust and do the same thing I've been doing for Jamaica."
Russell has faded from the West Indies fray since the Zimbabwe home series in March. He said he will return as an allrounder and not just a batsman. On his improving Twenty20 form he said, "I'll still back my bowling. There's always room for improvement and I'm still a bowler even though it's been the bat I've shone with lately. I improved on my field-setting and players like (Vernon) Philander, (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Muttiah) Muralitharan have helped me in their chats. Their experience added a lot for me. My death bowling has improved. Starting my spell was my problem but now I am starting better with the ball."
"My batting has overtaken my bowling at the moment but I work hard at both. I'm enjoying my batting and getting the role in the innings to express myself. I just need a good start from the upper order and it's easier for me. I love the last five or six overs to have a go."
With a lone Test against Sri Lanka in 2010 under his belt, Russell also expressed a strong desire for the long format. "I have been watching Test cricket since I was young and I think it can help my cricket a lot by playing the long format. It's a dream come true for any cricketer. I've got a taste and playing in an environment with (Chris) Gayle, Dwayne (Bravo) and Shiv (Chanderpaul), is a good environment. ODI and T20 have been good to me so far but I'm not giving up on Test cricket."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here