This is West Indies squad for the T20 World Cup 2022: Nicholas Pooran (c), Rovman Powell (vc), Evin Lewis, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Odean Smith, Johnson Charles, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Raymon Reifer, Obed McCoy, Alzarri Joseph, Akeal Hosein, Sheldon Cottrell, Yannic Cariah
Yes; everyone has been left surprised that Andre Russell’s name does not feature in this 15-man West Indies squad for the biggest international T20 event of the year. It’s quite stunning that one of the biggest names in world cricket – arguably the most valuable T20 all-rounder in the world – and part of the winning side from 2016, didn’t get a place in the best 15 of the West Indies squad.
It has been made loud and clear that the selectors have moved on from Russell. That’s quite eyebrow-raising because Russell still remains amongst the most sought-after cricketer in the franchise leagues around the globe.
Andre Russell dropped because he’s not “in-form”!
Chief selector Desmond Haynes cited Andre Russell’s dismal numbers in the ongoing CPL as a reason for dropping him while looking toward in-form players, and that they are “not convinced yet” about the all-rounder’s form.
“We had a meeting with Andre Russell earlier in the year. We’re still not convinced yet, he’s not performing as well as we would like to see him in the competition. I think in the situation with Andre Russell, we’ve just decided to move on, and look for someone who’s in form, and doing well in the T20 format,” Haynes said of Russell, who hasn’t played a T20I for West Indies since last year’s T20 WC in the UAE and continued to play in T20 leagues elsewhere.
In the Hundred tournament in England, Russell scored 148 runs for runners-up Manchester Originals, scoring his runs at a strike rate of 168 and walloping 12 sixes. In the inaugural 6ixty tournament – which preceded the CPL – he was the second-highest run-scorer with 137 runs from 5 innings, striking at 192 with 15 sixes.
In the ongoing CPL, Russell hasn’t been at his best with the bat – 37 runs in 5 innings and 4 wickets with the ball. However, such a small sample size, especially when a player has been playing constant cricket in the past few months, seems harsh in being a deciding factor of a selection – especially knowing what abilities Russell brings to the table.
Similar is the story with Sunil Narine, who hasn’t played a T20I since August 2019. Haynes revealed skipper Pooran had a conversation with Narine, who seemingly isn’t interested in playing international cricket again.
“I did not get any notice from Narine regarding his availability to play. There were conversations that the captain was having with Narine, and from all reports, it seemed that he was not interested. Yes, again, the captain told me he’s reached out to Narine, but I’m not too sure he wants to play,” Haynes said.
But, it is also not long ago that Russell publicly bashed the West Indies selectors and management. Head coach Phil Simmons had said that he can’t beg players (hinting at Russell and Narine) to play for West Indies. To this, Russell took up to Instagram to post “I know this was coming but am gonna stay quiet!!!” – a post which he later deleted.
Clearly, there is more to just cricketing reasons that Russell has not been included in the T20 World Cup squad; it also means that we might never see Andre Russell play for West Indies again.