On the clock: Russell to call time on international cricket career after next year's T20 World Cup

By December 13, 2023
Andre Russell Andre Russell

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell says he might sign off from international cricket at the end of next year’s Twenty20 World Cup, as he believes the region possesses enough young talent to fill the gap after his departure.

The explosive player's declaration followed his much-anticipated return to action for the West Indies on Tuesday, when he produced an inspiring performance with both bat and ball to lead the Caribbean side to a four-wicket win over England in the first of five T20s.

Russell took a format-best three for 19 in his first international since the 2021 T20 World Cup, which induced an England collapse from 117 for two in the 11th over to 171 all out, with three balls unused.

He later smashed a 14-ball 29, in an unbroken 49-run partnership with captain Rovman Powell, who made a 15-ball 31, to see West Indies to their highest successful run chase at Kensington Oval in Barbados.

The 35-year-old Jamaican, who expressed delight at being back in the fold, pointed out that the World Cup, to be hosted in the West Indies and United States, will be his last, but in the same breath, said he would be happy to return, if needed.

"It all depends on how the World Cup goes for me for me. To be honest, I still have a lot in the tank but based on discussion with the coach [Darren Sammy], I told him that after World Cup I would walk away from international cricket, but if they need me, I will come out of retirement," Russell said with sweat still trickling down his face after his player of the match performance.

"So that's the plan that I have; there are so many young talents here, all-rounders that are similar to myself, so sometimes you realize you're going into 36, so just give the youngsters the opportunity and if West Indies still need me, I would be willing to put in the hard yards for them to be honest," he added.

With questions surrounding his decision to comeback after a two-year absence, Russell explained that it was always on the cards, provided he performed well in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) a few months back.

"Sammy mentioned that once I did what I had to in CPL he would definitely enter my name for selection, and I had my fingers crossed because I always want to play for West Indies. Sometimes people might think otherwise and think we just want to play leagues, but I try to make sure that I look after my body to ensure that when I am called up, I am ready. So, I was ready and excited for this call up," he shared.

For Russell, the performance in which he removed dangerous opener Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone and Rehan Ahmed in his four overs, was almost as if scripted, as he revealed that he had dreamed of the outcome.

“Since I got the call up, I have been dreaming that my first match back, I would be player of the match. I loved the start that I got, picking up an important wicket, and then start to pull it back in the middle,” Russell said.

“I was excited to see all the guys there, trying to make sure that the plan that we discussed in the huddle came out and you know it was good to pull it back from a high scoring game to 170. We know how good of a quality spinners England have, so it was good to actually restrict them, and we could have some push and comfort to get the score,” he noted.

Finally, Russell, like the professional he is, dodged a bouncer when asked about the pending departure of Jason Holder, Nicholas Pooran and Kyle Mayers, who all rejected the Cricket West Indies central contract.

“I was just scrolling on Google, and I saw that, I don't know what's going on really, but I won't get into that to be honest. I'm here to play cricket and I'm just happy that I can wear this crest on my chest. So, with off the field stuff like that, they must know why they turned down the retainer,” Russell said.

The second contest is scheduled for Grenada on Thursday.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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