Injury-prone West Indies star Andre Russell is set to undergo an injury assessment to determine his fitness, as Cricket West Indies (CWI) begins to hone their plans for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.
The 31-year-old has not played a T20 International in 19 months and has not suited up for West Indies since limping out of the 50-over World Cup in England last June with a knee injury.
However, Russell has continued to feature in domestic T20 leagues across the globe and CWI chief executive, Johnny Grave, said the player’s fitness would now come under the microscope with the hope of reintegrating him into the West Indies setup.
“Hopefully in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” Grave said.
“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.
“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”
The IPL runs from March 29 to May 24 and Russell is expected to turn out as usual for Kolkata Knight Riders.
Despite fitness concerns, Russell was picked for last year’s World Cup but managed just four matches, as West Indies produced their worst-ever showing in finishing ninth of 10 teams.
Meanwhile, Grave said off-spinner Sunil Narine was also being monitored, with selectors hoping he makes a full recovery from the finger injury which has troubled him over the last year.
In fact, the 31-year-old last represented West Indies last August when he faced India in three T20 Internationals, but that outing was his first in two years.
“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies particularly in white ball cricket but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” Grave explained.
“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.” (CMC)