Russell ready to rumble in Port of Spain

Caribbean Premier League Media Release.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago – If there is one person champing at the bit ahead of Friday’s second semi-final of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League, it is lively Jamaica Tallawahs all-rounder Andre Russell.

Almost unnoticed, the 25-year-old has emerged as the hero for the Tallawahs, producing match-winning knocks and incisive spells, to help propel the Kingston-based franchise into the final four of the Limacol CPL.

With the crucial semi-final against Barbados Tridents at Queen’s Park Oval fast approaching, Russell says he can’t wait to line up again, as he seeks to steer Tallawahs into the Grand Final.

“I’ve been working hard on my batting and bowling so I am not really surprised by form at the moment. I’m bowling good yorkers, I’m hitting the ball cleanly and I’m waiting for my type of balls to dispatch so I’m happy,” Russell said.

“We’ve qualified for the semi-finals but we want to keep up that winning momentum so we just want to take it step by step.”

Russell announced himself with a scintillating unbeaten 42, an innings which fired Tallawahs to a seven wicket victory over Antigua Hawksbills, in their second match of the inaugural tournament.

In the next match against Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel, Russell snatched the two key wickets of Adrian Barath and skipper Dwayne Bravo at critical moments in the game, as the Tallawahs stole a narrow five-run win in the last over.

Subsequently, stroke-filled, unbeaten knocks of 47 and 27 also saw Tallawahs post important triumphs and Russell says his performances were testament to the determination he has shown since losing his spot in the West Indies team.

“I’m feeling good. I got dropped from the West Indies team but I know what I have to do and I know how important it is for me to work harder than everyone else,” said Russell, who last played for West Indies on Zimbabwe’s tour of the Caribbean in March.

“As an all-rounder you have to be extra fit. I’ve been doing a lot of work. I’ve played in England for Worcestershire and I’ve been doing a lot of running and stuff like that.”

He added: “Getting dropped made me stronger. I went back in the nets. I have my own training facility at home with a bowling machine so I made use of that. I know what I have to work on and I spent extra time working on those things.

“I know what it is to play international cricket and I know what it takes to stay there. I’ve been dropped but when I return to the West Indies team I think I will be a better player.”

In danger at one point of not qualifying for the semis, the Tallawahs’ surge in

form saw them finish second in the standings behind Guyana Amazon Warriors, and set up a highly anticipated clash with the Tridents on Friday.

Russell, who has played 34 One-Day Internationals and 15 Twenty20s for West Indies, said much of the Tallawahs’ success had been as a result of the senior players and the atmosphere they had created in the camp.

“The guys that we look up to like Chris Gayle and Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) … they are all fun guys and that is very important when guys like those can come and say something funny and you laugh. It really keeps the team going,” Russell explained.

“Murali is a true legend – off the field, on the field – and that’s one of the best things. We just have to keep going and keep doing well. We have the team and we have the confidence. Our confidence is sky high right now because winning gives you momentum.”

Tonight’s first semi-final will feature Guyana Amazon Warriors clashing with Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel, who finished fourth in the standings.

The semi-final winners will meet on Saturday in the final, also carded for Queen’s Park Oval.

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Caribbean Premier League Media Release.

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 12:23