Angry Andre Russell gets one-year ban
West Indies cricketer Andre Russell left the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday furious and disappointed after he was handed a one-year ban by a three-man independent disciplinary panel for a whereabouts violation in 2015.
The all-rounder looked tense for much of the proceeding as he anxiously awaited the verdict, and when the unfavourable decision was eventually passed, the cricketer became a picture of anger.
Russell's ban will run from January 31, 2017 to January 31, 2018, ruling the globe-trotting Jamaican out of a number of major tournaments.
The 28-year-old was clearly upset, taking out his frustration on a small palm tree in the hallway on his exit from the conference room.
Russell, who faced up to two years on the sidelines after missing three drug tests in 2015 following his failure to report his whereabouts, will be missing from the cash-rich Indian Premier League, where he is contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders. He also represents Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League in Australia, Sylhet Royals in the Bangladesh Premier League, Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, and Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League.
LENIENCY IN RULING
Russell's lead counsel, Patrick Foster, although disappointed with the ruling, was pleased that, at least, some leniency was shown with the cricketer escaping the full two-year penalty.
"Naturally, I am disappointed. I do not agree with the decision, but I am somewhat grateful it is not for two years. They seem to have injected some mercy in the process," he said.
However, he argued that the commencement date of the ban should have been earlier due to the delay in the announcement of the verdict.
"The only point we could raise at this time was for the penalty to start running at an earlier date, and the panel was not prepared to consider it at this time. They said that they were functus (duties come to an end) and that it was a matter for the appeal to deal with," he added.
Meanwhile, Hugh Faulkner, chairman of the disciplinary panel, said there were a number of considerations in handing down the judgement.
"In our decisions, we cited the circumstances, we cited the cases, we looked at the evidence or case's precedence, and that explained our decision to not apply the maximum," he stated.
Earlier, Faulkner told the gathering that the tribunal was satisfied that the evidence proved Russell was guilty of three failures to file his whereabouts to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission in 2015.
The first was for the period January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015; the second was for the period July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015; and the third for same period (July 1, 2015 September 1, 2015).
However, this, he said, was a result of Russell's failure to provide explanation in regards to anti-doping rules as to why he was late with the whereabouts requirements.