On a high after his rampaging form in the Indian Premier League, West Indies hard-hitting batsman Andre Russell on Saturday said he is “hungry to smash sixes” in the upcoming ICC World Cup, beginning May 30 in England.
Russell, who last played an ODI in July 2018, has been named in West Indies’ 15-man preliminary squad and he is looking forward to continue his IPL form at the mega-event. He has scored 406 runs in 10 innings at a startling strike rate of 209.27 for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the ongoing IPL.
“I’m so hungry to represent the West Indies and to smash sixes. I want to do what I’ve been doing here and score hundreds,” the KKR star player, who averages 28 in 52 One-Day Internationals along with 65 wickets, told reporters at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Russell last featured in an ODI for the West Indies nearly a year ago during Bangladesh’s three-match tour of the Caribbean. He played just one game before pulling out of the series with a knee injury.
Recalled for the last two ODIs against England earlier this year, he failed to play a single game as injury once again kept him at the bench.
“I took two injections to better my knee but it flared up and I was so upset. I was watching the games against England and couldn’t do anything about it,” Russell said about the 2-2 drawn series against top-ranked England.
Russell said he was not surprised at his selection. “I wasn’t surprised to be a part of the World Cup squad. I’ve been doing well. I’ve been back and forth with the selectors and coaches back home. I wasn’t really focusing on the World Cup. I was just focusing on KKR, making sure that I did my best here.”
Asked about the allegations that the top Windies players face on focussing more on franchise cricket, Russell said: “They never know what it is to play with injuries and to play in situations where you’re not comfortable. And if you keep playing for your country and you’re not comfortable then the performances won’t show as it always show here in franchise cricket.
“What’s been happening over the years is we have been playing all around the world in T20 leagues, we’ve been treated like royalties and, you know, we haven’t been treated like we are part of the Caribbean team.
“I think that’s where it should be more fun because we speak the same language, we can be yourself and stuff. That’s why I’m so hungry right now to represent the West Indies because a lot of fans being saying all sort of things.”
West Indies will start their World Cup campaign against Pakistan on May 31.
On the appointment of Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt, Russell said: “I’m not a politician. So I don’t get into the politics. I just play my cricket. At the end of the day, politics will always win over whatever. I don’t get deep into that. Never met him before. Hope it’s for the better of West Indies cricket.”
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