West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has been in red-hot form ever since he reached Kolkata to play in IPL-12. 510 runs, strike-rate of 204.81 and 52 sixes — these figures made him one of the most feared hitters in this year’s IPL.
Russell’s bowling can be equally destructive as he showed against Pakistan, bouncing out a couple of their top-order batsmen in their first game of the ICC World Cup. The men from the Caribbean were in some concern for the mercurial all-rounder, who is dealing with a recurring knee injury for the past one year and was seen limping in the field after his sensational spell against Pakistan last week.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder though was ‘very, very hopeful’ that Russell would be fit and firing for their second game against Australia on Thursday.
“The beauty with both of those guys (Gayle and Russell) is they've played enough cricket. We just tend to trust them, take their word and then make a final determination on the team then,” Holder said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“Chris (Gayle) was at practice for the last couple days, so he is all well and ready to go for me. Andre will be assessed in training, and we’re very, very hopeful that he’ll be fit,” the WI skipper said.
The West Indies-Australia World Cup rivalry dates back to the first-ever edition of the tournament in 1975, when Clive Lloyd’s side emerged victorious. West Indies only managed to squeeze into this year’s tournament after finishing runners-up to Afghanistan in the World Cup qualifiers last year.
“It’s always been a great rivalry between West Indies and Australia. I think everybody is expecting a really good contest. We're up for the challenge. I think they're up for the challenge, as well.
“I wouldn't really get too deep into rivalries, but we expect a really good contest from the Australians. I'm not caught up with rivalry, I'm not caught up with the past per se. It's a matter for us to go into the game looking to execute our plans and beat Australia,” Holder added.
Trent Bridge is a ground which has seen some big totals including England’s record 481/6 last year. Holder wants his side to show some ‘intent and fearlessness’ against defending champions Australia.
“We've all seen the way the world cricket has gone the last couple months -- well, last two years per se. And there have been some high totals and there have been some aggressive stroke play. We just want to be as positive as we possibly can be.
“I think whether we bat first or if we chase, we've got to show intent. Intent is something that we spoke about in the dressing room, and it's something that we want to go about our goal with when we go into our innings. Yeah, I don't want to get too caught up with the conditions, but at the end of the day I just want the guys to show intent and be fearless,” the West Indies all-rounder said.