All-rounder Andre Russell has ruled himself out of the first couple of T20 Internationals against India due to discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee at the Global T20 Canada, and captain Carlos Brathwaite believes that he will be missed.
One of the senior players in the squad, Russell, who injured his knee recently at the World Cup did turn out for Vancouver Knights in Canada after making himself unavailable for the India games.
Though his inclusion in the squad was subject to a fitness test, Cricket West Indies announced that Russell had informed the selection committee of his unavailability.
"He really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies,” Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies T20I captain, said.
“Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that if he comes here, he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100%. Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field.
"In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial, and in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well. But, obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series, I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long term injury."
The veteran all-rounder will be replaced by Jason Mohammed, who last played for the West Indies in July 2018 against Bangladesh in an ODI.
The veteran’s absence puts Jason Mohammed in line to play his first international match in over a year. The middle-order batsman last turned out in West Indies colours in July 2018, in an ODI against Bangladesh at home.
"It is not easy to the fill the shoes of someone like Andre Russell, who has dominated T20 cricket all over the world, and helped West Indies win the ICC T20 World Cup on two occasions,” Floyd Reifer, West Indies’ interim head coach, said. “We believe Jason is capable of good performances and we back him to perform at this level and win games as well."
The first two T20Is between West Indies and India are set to be contested over the weekend in Florida’s Broward County Stadium, before the teams head to the Caribbean for the rest of the tour.
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