Andre Russell continued participation in the Global T20 Canada while opting out of the Twenty20 series against India through injury is all part of the plan for the all-rounder’s rehabilitation, Cricket West Indies has said.
The 31-year-old was named in the 14-man West Indies squad for the three-match series which started last weekend in Florida but pulled out last Friday citing a flare up of his long-standing left knee injury.
Much to the astonishment of many, however, he then turned out for Vancouver Knights the same day, suffering the indignity of a first-ball “duck”.
He played again on Sunday but did not bat, and did not bowl in either game.
“We cleared him fit to play in Canada as a batsman. To monitor his fitness every day, a couple of our physios are over in the GT20 so we’ve got that oversight with Andre and his knee,” CWI chief executive, Johnny Grave, told cricket website ESPNCricinfo.
“But there’s a massive difference between playing in domestic cricket to international cricket. Our fans really want to see Andre Russell at a 100 per cent while playing here against India: batting at 100 per cent, bowling at 100 per cent, fielding dynamically outside the circle at 100 per cent.”
He added: His injuries are probably not going to be ones that are ever going to be fully solved. Like many other sportsmen, like the Beckhams and the Ibrahimovics that have knee injuries, daily rehab is going to be part of his life for the rest of his playing career.
“We hope that he just takes our medical advice, strengthens his knee and hopefully when he’s back to 100 per cent fitness he’ll be back wearing maroon.”
The worrisome injury has limited Russell’s appearances for West Indies in recent years, though he has continued to his hectic schedule on the lucrative global T20 franchise circuit.
His last appearance in a T20 International was a year ago in a three-match series against Bangladesh and prior to the recent ICC World Cup in England, had turned out in just a single One-Day International in nearly three years.
An explosive batsman, impactful bowler and dynamic fielder, Russell’s services have remained the most sought-after franchise cricket.
And Grave conceded there was nothing CWI could do to limit the Jamaican’s participation in franchise tournaments, especially since he was not a retained player.
“He’s not contracted to us so we can’t tell him what to do. He listens and takes on our advice, I know it for sure,” Grave explained.
“I know that he hasn’t played in every game, he hasn’t bowled yet. So hopefully he’s listening to that medical advice and this is part of his rehab.
“He can then hopefully have a break, continue strengthening his knee. He then has the CPL and we can assess him after that. The surgery was successful and hopefully playing a few matches as a batsman in Canada is part of his rehabilitation.
“As he strengthens that knee, he can get back to full fitness and the player that we want him to be.”