Time Wednesday Jun 02 2021

PSL 2021: West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell determined to bring Quetta Gladiators 'back on track'

West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell. Photo: File 

Karachi: As the remainders of the Pakistan Super League's sixth edition are set to resume soon, West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell says he is determined to "give his best to bring Quetta Gladiators back on track' in the league, who are currently at bottom of the points table.

Talking exclusively to Geo News in an online interview from Abu Dhabi, the 33-year-old flamboyant cricketer also termed PSL as one of the top leagues around the world.

“Obviously, my target is to do the best I can to contribute to the team in whatever way I can, whether it is with the bat or with the ball or in the field," said Russel. 

"I'm actually excited to be taking part in this tournament. I should contribute in whatever way [possible]. I won't get that sweet joy of lifting the cup with them, but I will know why they should bid towards that,” he said.

He said that once the team manages to get a good start, then it could definitely build up momentum. 

"And when you get a winning momentum, it is just confidence after confidence and from game to game, you feel untouchable as a team so once you're doing well, you will know what to do to win again," the West-Indian cricketer said.

He said that he wants to make sure Gladiators would do whatever it takes to get to the playoffs and the finals, adding that he is willing to do whatever it takes in order to take the team over the line.

The veteran of 355 T20 games, including 49T20Is for West Indies, said that he’s excited to be playing PSL again and termed the league as "one of the top leagues around the world."

“I play IPL, I play big bash or Caribbean Premier League. I play in other leagues around the world. And I'm definitely gonna say that PSL [is one of the top leagues around the world]."

He said that the talent, the quality of cricket, especially the bowling, and each team has proper bowlers and proper local domestic players and with international players coming in to add that strength.

"I just think it makes the league even tougher. So it's among the top leagues,” he said about the PSL.

The West Indian cricketer added that he has previously played in warm weather and professionals should be prepared for any sort of weather but added that things would be a bit challenging due to the limited time available to players for acclimatisation.

“I have played in hot conditions before. But I was in competition, playing games, having proper net sessions and back and forth, getting used to the condition and fully acclimatised. However, in this case, it's going to be a bit different where we are in quarantine and then we just gonna get out and have a few practice session and then straight into the games."

"The night won't be as bad as the day games but if it's day game, we just have to be up for the challenge and we are professionals so we have to condition our minds to deal with the heat and the weather,” he continued.

Replying to a question, Andre Russell agreed that back-to-back bubbles and restricted movement for players due to pandemic has taken a toll on him.

“I think it's taking a toll on myself. I can't talk for any other player, of any other coaches or anyone that go through this whole quarantine stuff. But it's definitely taken a toll on me mentally because from bubble to bubble, in a room locked in, you can’t go out for a walk, you can’t go certain places, you can't socialise, it's different," he said.

"But at the end of the day, I'm not being ungrateful, I'm grateful that we're still playing, we're still doing our job. So it's tough for us. But even though we prepared for it, it still takes a toll,” he said about being in a bubble after bubble to play cricket.

He said that for athletes, the situation is tougher because they have to come out of the quarantine in a good physical condition, adding that they can't just sit in a room for seven or eight days and do nothing as it would affect their physical condition. 

"So for me, I like to have a bike or something in my room that I can get my heart rate up. I would utilise the space that I have, go on the floor, do some of some push-ups, some exercise I use stuff in the room as with to just get something done,” he added.

Answering another question about his power-hitting ability, the West-Indian cricketer said that hitting is not the only way for batsmen to get into T20 cricket but it does have an impact. However, he was firm that players who are not frequent hitters of the ball can do the job done as good as any hitter can.

“The more power you have as a batter, the more fear you bring into the bowler. But for a guy with a proper batting technique, he can get he can pick the gaps he can score boundary whenever you want, then it still adds up,” he said.

Andre Russell also liked the idea of expanding the Cricket World Cup and said that it will help more teams grow and provide more opportunity to players.

He also opened about the time when he was suspended over the whereabouts clause of the ICC anti-doping code in 2017 and how he bounced backed from that phase. The West-Indian cricketer said that the period was a learning experience but rued that it was his prime and he could have added some good runs to his career tally if he was able to play.

“It was tough for me. It was definitely an era that I wish I could just be careful and just get it done at that time. But, the past is the past, it's already happened, it definitely opened my eyes to reality and life,” he said.


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