To point out West Indies’s current ODI performances and subsequent form, you need to turn into a scuba diving instructor. You need to dive deep into the debris lying at the bottom of the ocean, dirtied by a debris of inconsistencies and a brand of incoherent cricket. That’s how low they have sunk in a game they were once, right on top.
Stale news? Knowing they have booked their flight to the chilly breeze of England is stale news again, isn’t it?
Why there’s a void without Andre Russell?
But what’s vital is to understand that only a month and a half ago, the West Indies had barely scrapped through an embarrassing tussle to book their place for 2019’s ICC World Cup. Of their so-called main stars- only Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels turned up for national duties. Rovman Powell, it seemed, had filled a spot that usually belongs to a man called Kolkata Knight Riders’ best all-round talent. Also, the one who’s taken current IPL by storm, having missed 12 months of cricket, thanks to involvement with a doping scandal.
The joy fans at an Eden Gardens or Wankhede get seeing a muscular flick disappear into the stands or a great cross-batted whack turns into a fleeting moment when you realize Andre Russell could do similar things donning the West Indies maroon too. Add to that a bit of the thunder that he brings for KKR, could well be used for assisting the constantly waning West Indies Cricket. For a man who seems accustomed to identifying which spot in the stand he wants to target before taking strike, that’s the least he could do for the West Indies. Isn’t it?
He does it consistently for T20 franchises all over the world. The question is “Can Andre Russell deliver for West Indies too?
But when you play for West Indies and are a product of typically frazzled times where often, there are as many T20s as an ODI series on a calendar- nothing could be said for certain. Perhaps, quite like the eventualities of IPL 2018 games.
Agile on the field, Andre Russell is a smiling figure away from it. Action-packed are highlights featuring Russell engaged in some ball bashing, akin to a shark desperately wanting to get victims under its fins.
Your mind runs into a tizzy when you read Andre Russell’s ODI and T20 strike rates. The same being 131 in ODIs and 129 in T20s, respectively. But at the same time, you are confounded by doubt rather utterly taken in by surprise upon knowing that last Russell played an ODI for West Indies was back in 2015. Even if you cope with that, it sounds dull to note his last T20 appearance for Windies came in 2016.
Then, at the Wankhede, Russell tethered Pandya, Bumrah and others to blast a 43 out of nowhere. India were out of the semis and West Indian flags fluttered where we’re accustomed to seeing Mumbai Indians flags.
Even as his die-hard fans are exposing teeth in noting that a year of being in oblivion has done nothing to slow the man always in charge, back in the Caribbean doubts persist. Can Andre Russell- arguably, West Indies’ finest all-rounder in last decade appear for national duties anytime soon? Moreover, those who believe- perhaps hoping against hope- for a West Indian special in World Cup 2019 want to know whether the Jamaican would want to feature?
There’s possibly little or no explanation available as to on what grounds was he not picked for West Indies’ humiliating whitewash against Pakistan, in Pakistan. Their loss coming in a format where apparently their skills find maximum fruition- T20s. At a time where Caribbean cricket, finally seems to be finding its lost groove, with Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis providing hopes for a brighter future, someone like a Russell can add teeth to what can become a dangerous looking West Indies side.
A Power-Player for ODIs?
Moreover, there’s the experience of having played international cricket since 2011. Apart from that, mighty cameos like 13-ball 42 against Pakistan (in 2015 World Cup) and an irrepressible 92 against India in 2011, that gave Windies, at one stage 98-8, wings to compete against India- throw evidence on Russell being in himself a “PowerPlay”, arguably the most dominant T20 term today.
There’s nothing sweeter quite like the taste of victory. So if the West Indies have already relished two grand successes- with Russell being in both squads, 2012 and 2016 (ICC World T20 titles) in cricket’s truncated formats, why can’t they use the man further?