West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell admits that like many others he is more than eager to see the back of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to get back to doing what he loves to do best, and that is hitting sixes.

The power slugger, however, also has another important reason to want to see the virus contained and that is to get his family back together.  Russell’s wife and newborn daughter were both in Miami, in the United States, when travel restrictions were enforced, while the Jamaican was in his homeland.

“She [his daughter] and Jassym, they are both in Miami. I stay connected to them and talk to them. I wish I could have them here, but with all these travel restrictions, we cannot do anything,” Russell said in an interview with the website of his IPL team, KKR’s official ‘Knights Unplugged.

 “It’s not really a situation anyone would want to be in. This is affecting the world, it’s affecting me, preventing me from hitting sixes. Hope this thing calms down in a month or two and we can go back to normal life again.”

The player hopes to once again feel the excitement of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has been postponed indefinitely amid the outbreak.  For Russell, nothing compares to the excitement of the IPL  and facing his home crowd at Eden Gardens.

“Let me confess something, IPL is where I get the most goosebumps. I get that in CPL (Caribbean Premier League) as well but when it comes to playing in IPL, especially Eden Gardens, there is no comparison,” Russell said referring to his team’s home ground in Kolkata.

“The welcome I get, that’s love. It puts pressure on me but it’s good pressure,” he added.

Former England star Kevin Pietersen has named West Indies six machine Chris Gayle as the greatest Indian Premier League (IPL) batsman of all-time.

Generally speaking, the 40-year-old Windies batting legend has dominated T20 cricket on a whole, scoring more runs (13,296), sixes (978) and 100s (22) than anyone else.  Gayle has, however, reserved a special type of carnage-filled slugfest for the IPL.

 In 125 matches, he has put up a staggering 4484 runs, which is sixth overall but with fewer matches than everyone above him except David Warner.  When it comes to clearing the boundary at the Indian tournament, however, the big left-hander has no equal.  Gayle’s 326 sixes put him 114 clear of second-place AB de Villiers.  With such a prodigious talent to blast the long ball, it’s little wonder the West Indian commands the undying affection of a rabid fanbase.

“Gayle has lifted the IPL for a number of years,” Pietersen told the Uk-based Metro.

“He bats at the top of the order and has brought so much sexiness to the tournament and he has been very smart in the way he has approached his batting,” he added.

“He has seen off some of the good bowlers and against the one he thinks he can hit from Bangalore to Mumbai, he sends them all the way. ‘He creates so much excitement and he has an aura around him when you see him.”

Gayle also currently holds the record for most IPL sixes and the highest individual score in T20 with 175 off 66 balls, which was set at the tournament in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Out-of-favour T20 all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite has recalled one of his favourite memories was being treated like Chris Gayle when he turned up for an IPL spell in India with Delhi Daredevils, shortly after his success at the 2016 World Cup.

The giant West Indian rocketed to fame after swatting away four straight sixes off England’s Ben Stokes, to lift the Caribbean team to the 2016 T20 World Cup title.  Those types of exploits were of course very much like another big West Indian's, Chris Gayle, who has often thrilled IPL crowds with his match-winning, big-hitting exploits in India.

“Cricket is a religion in India. I remember I was filming Chris (Gayle) being mobbed at the airport. But after the World Cup when I came to play for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), the same thing was happening to me,” the 31-year old said in a recent Delhi radio show.

Brathwaite has not quite followed up on the promise of those big heaves over the boundary, in recent years, losing both the captaincy of the West Indies and dropped from the squad.  He was also not selected during the 2020 IPL auctions held late last year, but still hopes to play some part in the tournament.

“Hopefully I will be in IPL in some capacity maybe replacement player or in commentary,” he added.

Due to ongoing global fight with the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was, however, postponed until further notice.

 

Chris Gayle is best known for his power-hitting exploits in all formats of the game.

West Indies legend Brian Lara believes the upcoming IPL could prove a key barometer for veteran players like Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, who could be looking for one last hurrah at the ICC T20 World Cup later this year.

At the ages of 40 and 36, the players are in the twilight of their careers and currently on the fringes of the West Indies squad looking to prepare for the upcoming tournament.  Lara is, however, convinced that a successful IPL campaign could put the players back in the mind of the selectors.  The tournament, the former batting star insists, will not only test their current form but also their longevity by providing a grueling schedule.  The near one-month tournament could see teams play as many as 17 matches, with a minimum of 14 during the short period.

“I think the IPL is going to be a huge point or signal for who is actually going to carry on. It’s still going to be five months after the IPL for the World Cup,”
Lara said in a recent interview with bdcrictime.

“Fitness levels are very important, but a gruesome tournament like the IPL is going to tell the West Indies selectors who are the players that they really need going into the last four months of preparation for the World Cup,” he added.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons is not be concerned that the life-changing contract awarded to Sheldon Cottrell to play for the Kings XI Punjab in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will impact his cricket.

West Indies middle-order batsman, Shimron Hetmyer, while happy for a second chance at the Indian Premier League, isn’t focusing on the lucrative, high-profile show, in which his price tag suggests he needs to play a starring role.

Hetmyer was discarded by the Royal Challengers Bangalore after just one season but scored a brilliant century in the first One-Day International against India, as well as a few attractive-looking cameos in T20 Internationals against the same team, inclusive of his first half-century.

The left-hander went for US1.1 million to the Capitals at the IPL draft but wasn’t paying any attention to it, choosing instead to focus on the final game his Windies side have against India on Sunday.

The teams go into that third ODI locked at a game apiece.

“I wasn’t really looking too far ahead about it (auction). Really and truly I was just thinking all about the West Indies,” he said.

Hetmyer believes it is what has happened while playing with the Windies that makes him an attractive sell in the IPL and he doesn’t want to quickly forget that.

“They have brought me [here] and made me the person I am today so all thanks to the West Indies for just giving me the chance to represent [them]. I just do my thing and it’s all for the team,” he said.

Windies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell is raring to go after he landed a million-dollar contract from the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this week.

Cottrell entered the draft at a base price of US$70,400 but found himself the subject of a bidding war, with Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab displaying more than just a passing interest.

That interest catapulted his value to US$1.2 million with Kings XI eventually coming out tops.

“I’m really looking forward [to] that,” the Jamaican left-armer said following the auction.

“I am very thankful and humbled at the same time, and just to play alongside Chris (Gayle) and Nicholas (Pooran), KL Rahul – just some of the names – I’m very elated.”

Cottrell  earned his place among the elites of T20 cricket after a year in which he bagged 30 wickets from 23 One-Day Internationals and 14 from 12 T20 Internationals.

Even a disastrous World Cup campaign for the West Indies did little to stop his momentum, the pacer collecting 12 scalps despite.

Though his good bowling has not resulted in many wins for the West Indies, Cottrell doesn’t believe he could have achieved what he has this season without his teammates.

“Without my teammates [and] West Indies, I wouldn’t have made it here in my personal view,” he pointed out. “They have backed me 100 per cent and I just want to tell them thanks.”

Before all that though, Cottrell will be eyeing another good performance for the West Indies in the deciding game of three-match ODI series against India in a few hours time.  

 

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite were among seven West Indies players who went unsold during the 2020 IPL Auction in Kolkata, India on Thursday.

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