Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave has said that all-rounder Andre Russell’s decision to not take a part in the recently concluded T20I series against India and play in the Global T20 Canada league is “a part of his rehabilitation plans.”
"We cleared him fit to play in Canada as a batsman," Grave said talking to ESPNcricinfo. "To monitor his fitness every day, a couple of our physios are over in the GT20, so we've got that oversight with Andre and his knee.
"But there's a massive difference between playing in domestic cricket to international cricket. Our fans really want to see Andre Russell at a 100% while playing here against India: batting at 100%, bowling at 100%, fielding dynamically outside the circle at 100%."
Russell is playing for the Vancouver Knights, and on Friday at the pre-match press conference, West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite mentioned how Russell’s best efforts to take to the field for the West Indies were on. Questions were then raised about why Russell was instead then taking the field for the Knights.
"His injuries are probably not going to be ones that are ever going to be fully solved," Grave continued. "Like many other sportsmen, like the Beckhams and the Ibrahimovics that have knee injuries, daily rehab is going to be part of his life for the rest of his playing career. We hope that he just takes our medical advice, strengthens his knee and hopefully when he's back to 100% fitness he'll be back wearing maroon."
However, Grave also touched upon the fact that Cricket West Indies did not have a say in Russell’s actions, as he is not currently a contracted player. However, he is confident that he takes on the advice that is given to him.
"He's not contracted to us so we can't tell him what to do," he said. "He listens and takes on our advice, I know it for sure. I know that he hasn't played in every game, he hasn't bowled yet. So hopefully he's listening to that medical advice and this is part of his rehab.
"He can then hopefully have a break, continue strengthening his knee. He then has the CPL and we can assess him after that. The surgery was successful and hopefully playing a few matches as a batsman in Canada is part of his rehabilitation. As he strengthens that knee, he can get back to full fitness and the player that we want him to be.”
Grave also dismissed suggestions that Russell would have to curb his bowling in order to continue playing, saying, “We're positive and thinking for the best. Our thought for the moment is we want Andre to fully recover and get back to full fitness as the dynamic all-rounder, but if Andre Russell has to become just a batsman, then the selectors will select him based on his performances and on that criteria.
"But at the moment, I know he wants to continue. He loves bowling. He wants to be an all-rounder and hopefully he's doing everything he can to ensure that happens by following his rehab, listening to the medical advice and taking it easy. So it's good to see him not playing every game in Canada, managing his knee and managing his rehab."
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