West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite defends Andre Russell, says ‘he really wanted to play’
West Indies T20I captain Carlos Brathwaite defended Andre Russell after the all-rounder decided to opt out of the first two T20Is against India in Florida citing a reoccurrence of injury. Russell, however turned up for the Vancouver Knights in the Global T20 Canada, hours after the West Indies Cricket Board sent out a release about his unavailability.
“He really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies,” ICC quoted Brathwaite as saying.
Russell was named in the original 14-member squad for the first and second T20I match. However, the all-rounder experienced some discomfort while at the GT20 tournament in Canada and informed the interim selection panel of his unavailability for the upcoming series. Jason Mohammed will be replacing Russell in the first T20I clashes.
Brathwaite stated that Russell’s absence in the matches will be a ‘big loss’.
“Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn’t think that if he comes here, he’d be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100%. Obviously, he’s a big loss, not only on the field but off the field,” he said.
Brathwaite also said that the team wants Russell to be fit for the forthcoming T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played next year.
“In the dressing room, in and around the team, he’s a big character, very jovial, and in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well. But, obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series, I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long term injury,” Brathwaite said.
West Indies will compete against India for the first T20I on August 3.
(With agency inputs)