Andre Russell confident of fitness for Australia clash

Andre Russell
Andre Russell

West Indies allrounder Andre Russell is confident he will be fit for the side’s second World Cup match against Australia on June 6, despite limping heavily after his match-turning spell in the thumping seven-wicket win over Pakistan.

Russell has a history of knee injuries and bowled just three overs in West Indies’ opening match but his spell was the stunning blow from which Pakistan never recovered. A barrage of short-pitched deliveries earned Russell figures of 2 for 4 and he was not required to bat as his side cruised to victory.

But after the match Russell was hobbling gingerly, his left knee clearly hampering his movement. The West Indies medical team now have five days to work on his rehabilitation.

“I’ve been playing for years with these knee injuries,” Russell said after the match. “And sometimes it feels worse than some days but, at the end of the day, I’m a professional. I know what to do to get back. I think I have five days before the next game so that is more than enough time to get my knee back to normal and get it settled.

“Let’s just see what happens. I have a good physio team, massage team, here so they’re going to be working with me closely for the next couple of days.”

This was Russell’s third ODI appearance since the 2015 World Cup. He has mostly bowled in short spells at various T20 competitions around his one-year anti-doping ban and, on the evidence of this match, he will need careful management throughout the tournament. But while he was included in the squad primarily for his batting, Russell desperately wants to contribute as a bowler.

“Well that’s the plan,” Russell said. “I want to make sure that my knee is 100 percent or if it’s not 100, 80 percent. I’m still ready to bowl. I’m ready, this is the World Cup. So I don’t mind resting for a month or two months after the World Cup but I want to leave everything here for the World Cup.”

There were also concerns when Chris Gayle called for the physio after appearing to injure his back pulling a short ball from Wahab Riaz. He limped initially and held his back, but went onto bring up a 33-ball half-century before falling to Mohammad Amir.

“He sent the physio back off the field so that’s a positive sign for us,” captain Jason Holder said. “So again, we’ve got five days. So we’ll see how he goes the next couple of days.” (ESPNCricinfo)