West Indies explosive all-rounder Andre Russell, who also plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in Indian Premier League, has vowed to arrive in the 2024 T20 World Cup “looking like a UFC fighter” following their T20I series win over reigning champions England. The experienced all-rounder returned to international cricket after two years of absence. The last time he represented the West Indies was at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. Russell was the leading wicket-taker for the hosts with seven wickets in the five-match series and was influential with the bat as he scored at a strike rate of 169.35. He expressed his hope of returning to the team.
“I’ll be in better shape, to be honest: I’ll be looking like a UFC fighter. This series win means so much. It [makes me] want to push myself to the limit. It means a lot, to be honest, getting the call-up to come back and join the West Indies team. I’ve been working for the last two years, waiting on a call-up,” he told TNT Sports as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“I’m just excited to be back and have a win, highlighting the role that Daren Sammy has played in his return. The coach has been backing me a lot. I’m so happy. I feel like I’ve won a big, big championship with just a series win, that’s how much it means to me,” he added.
Russell joined the team immediately after playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 League. He stated that the long flight had affected his performance.
“I was coming from Abu Dhabi where it’s a big time difference. Flying back into Barbados I tried to stay up as late as possible to make sure that I get enough sleep so that I can [be] fresh for the game,” Russell said.
“When I got to Grenada, I just couldn’t sleep. I started feeling sleepy at 6 am, which would be the time that I would sleep in Abu Dhabi. Fans won’t know that, but I still get the pressure and the backlash and all of that. It just makes me stronger. I love my Caribbean fans and I know they are passionate about the game, and when we’re messing up, they will be on our backs,” Russell added.
Coming to the series, West Indies clinched the first two games and England bounced back to win the next two. With the series level, the hosts outclassed England and clinched the series with a four-wicket victory.
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