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Andre Russell on 2024 T20 World Cup preparation – ‘I’ll be looking like a UFC fighter’


Andre Russell pledged to arrive at next year’s T20 World Cup “looking like a UFC fighter” after his comeback series for West Indies culminated in a four-wicket win over England in Thursday’s decider in Trinidad.
Russell returned to international cricket after a two-year absence, having last represented West Indies at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. He was not in their plans for last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, when selector Desmond Haynes said that West Indies had “moved on” from him, but won a recall after confirming his availability.

He was West Indies’ leading wicket-taker in the series, largely bowling at the death, and scored at a strike rate of 169.35 with the bat. “It means a lot, to be honest, getting the call-up to come back and to join the West Indies team,” he told TNT Sports. “I’ve been working for the last two years, waiting on a call-up.

“I’m just excited to be back and have a win,” Russell said, highlighting the role that Daren Sammy has played in his return. “The coach has been backing me a lot. I’m so happy. I feel like I’ve won a big, big championship with just a series win, that’s how much it means to me.”

Russell arrived in the Caribbean immediately after playing in the Abu Dhabi T10, and said that the long-haul flight across the world had affected his performance after impressing in the series opener. “I was coming from Abu Dhabi where it’s a big time difference,” he said. “Flying back into Barbados I tried to stay up as late as possible to make sure that I get enough sleep so that I can [be] fresh for the game.

“I have a lot of cricket to play and that’s good. When you’re playing cricket and in competition, your body is active and you’re not just sat at home waiting for the World Cup”

Andre Russell

“When I got to Grenada, I just couldn’t sleep. I start feeling sleepy at 6am in the morning, which would be the time that I would sleep in Abu Dhabi. Fans won’t know that, but I still get the pressure and the backlash and all of that. It just makes me stronger. I love my Caribbean fans and I know they are passionate about the game, and when we’re messing up, they will be on our backs.

“I want to make sure that I do the necessary recoveries, drink a lot of coconut water and get my body right – massages, and all of that. That’s what I did to really be able to come in the last game, bowl three overs for 30-odd runs [37] – and then today was exceptional from all the bowlers.”

Russell hopes to be part of West Indies’ squad for the T20 World Cup in June, when they will attempt to become the first men’s team to win the trophy for a third time. “I’ll be in better shape, to be honest: I’ll be looking like a UFC fighter,” he said. “This series win means so much. It [makes me] want to push myself to the limit.”

He is due to play in the ILT20 and the IPL early next year, and said: “I have a lot of cricket to play and that’s good. When you’re playing cricket and in competition, your body is active and you’re not just sat at home waiting for the World Cup. We are definitely going to give some teams a good, good run for their money in the World Cup.”



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