Russell close to fitness – Simmons
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC):
Injured West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is recovering well and is “close enough to fitness”, head coach Phil Simmons said yesterday, indicating he was not concerned the star player would not be ready for the upcoming ICC Men’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup.
The 33-year-old Jamaican, who was named in the regional side’s 15-man squad for the World Cup that begins later this month, suffered a hamstring injury while fielding for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on the boundary against Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last month and has missed all of KKR’s matches since.
There had been speculation he may have returned to bat for KKR in their eliminator against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah yesterday, but Russell continued to sit out as he recovers.
At a virtual press briefing from Dubai yesterday, Simmons said he was not concerned that Russell’s injury would prevent him from contributing to West Indies’ title defence in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
“We’ve been in constant contact – between our medical and KKR’s medical – and he’s been batting in the nets. He’s been running to a certain level, so he’s close enough to fitness,” Simmons said.
“There was talk…he might have been up to play today as a batsman but they’ve gone against that and we’ll see how he moves forward but he’s been progressing really well.”
The Kieron Pollard-led team will begin their campaign for a third T20 World Cup win with a match against England on October 23 in Dubai.
The other members of the squad are: Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, and Hayden Walsh Jr.
Former West Indies captain Jason Holder, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein are the reserves.
Simmons said that the mood among the squad so far has been “good”.