KOLKATA, India, (CMC) – All-rounder Andre Russell says there is a renewed hunger to represent West Indies in the upcoming World Cup, especially with his current batting form.
The 31-year-old has played only a single One-Day International in the last four years but was named in the Caribbean side’s World Cup 15-man squad last week.
He was recalled for the last two matches of the recent five-match home series against England but was subsequently kept out due to a knee injury.
“I’m so hungry now to represent the West Indies,” the Jamaican said.
“The last time I joined the West Indies team was recently, when I had taken two injections to better my knee and it flared up again. I was so upset. I was watching the game against England and couldn’t do anything about it.
“But as I said, I’m so hungry right now to represent the West Indies and smash sixes and do what I’ve been doing here and score hundreds.”
Russell has been on fire with the bat in the ongoing Indian Premier League where he has plundered 486 runs at an average of 69 with four half-centuries, to top the Kolkata Knight Riders batting charts.
Though there has been less emphasis placed on his medium-fast bowling, the right-armer has already claimed 10 wickets at an average of 22 and economy rate of nearly nine.
Despite his absence from the ODI side in recent years, Russell said his selection for the May 30 to July 14 showpiece in England was not unexpected.
“I wasn’t surprised that I was a part of the World Cup squad,” Russell explained.
“I’ve been doing well. I’ve been back and forth with the selectors and the coaches back home. I know once I’m doing my work here and performing, that will lead to national duties.
“I wasn’t really focused on the World Cup. I was just trying to make sure that whatever happened here, I did my best and put my best foot forward.”
New interim West Indies head coach, Floyd Reifer, said last week that Russell’s current form in the IPL had weighed heavily in the decision by selectors.
“He’s shown that he has tremendous striking ability – look at his stats in the IPL, he’s been doing very, very well,” he pointed out.
Russell averages 28 from 52 ODIs and has taken 65 wickets.
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For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!
West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!
Cricket is seen as a unifying force in the West Indies, bringing together players (and supporters) from across the region. This gentleman's game has brought considerable exposure to the islands of the Caribbean, with the West Indian cricketers being remembered not only for their incredible talent and skills but also for their deportment and sense of fair play.