Melbourne Stars have continued to shore up their injury-plagued roster with West Indies allrounder Andre Russell the latest big-name signing.
On the back of the Stars adding Pakistani quick Haris Rauf, 33-year-old Russell returns to the BBL for the first time since 2017 when he played the last of three seasons with Sydney Thunder.
During that period, he scored 296 runs from 17 innings marked by a massive strike rate of 166.29, while he took 23 wickets at an economy of 7.97.
Coincidentally, Russell's five-match stint with Stars is set to begin against Thunder at the MCG on Friday. He is currently completing his mandatory 72 hours quarantine after flying into Sydney having played in the Abu Dhabi T10 competition.
"To have someone of Andre's quality play for the Melbourne Stars is a huge signing for our club," Stars coach David Hussey said. "I can't wait to work with him in the time that he's here and look forward to his debut on Friday night."
Russell's match-winning ability, which has made him a coveted T20 player worldwide for years, was evident when he smashed an unbeaten 90 from just 32 balls to power Deccan Gladiators to the title in Abu Dhabi.
However, he had little impact with bat and ball at the T20 World Cup as defending champions West Indies exited with just one win. Russell scored just 25 runs from five innings and claimed three wickets in his return from a hamstring injury sustained in the second leg of the IPL.
If Russell can recapture his best, it might help resuscitate Stars who are already under pressure after a record 152-run opening loss against two-time defending champion Sydney Sixers at the SCG.
Stars were without Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Joe Burns while towering quick Billy Stanlake is set to miss the entire season due to a back injury.
The high-profile Stars surprisingly missed the playoffs last season and have yet to win a BBL title.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth