ANDRE RUSSELL wants to deliver again on Trinidad and Tobago soil, but this time as a Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) player and help the franchise rebound from a disappointing start to the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament.
TKR are at the bottom of the six-team table with three points, after winning one match and losing two. TKR’s other match ended in a no-result.
TKR will aim to move off the foot of the table against leaders Barbados Royals at Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, from 7 pm, on Tuesday.
Royals have been flawless this year winning five straight matches to start the tournament, and are on top with ten points.
TKR arrived at Piarco International Airport on Monday to a warm welcome, in which the Siparia Rhythm Posse, moko jumbies, cheerleaders and mascots were all part of the celebrations. The event was organised by Carib, the official beer of the TKR.
Speaking to the media at the airport, Russell said, “Not the start that we wanted. We all know what we can do…it is actually good to get a taste of losing and getting that experience, getting that feel in a changing room with so (many) star players.
“Everyone is hungry right now. We are home. The amazing welcome that we are getting right now that is just going to set the pace for (Tuesday)…we just have to make sure we make the cricket ball and the cricket bat talk (on Tuesday).”
Russell has had memorable matches in Trinidad. Playing against TKR as a Jamaica Tallawahs player in 2018, he struck a century and grabbed a hat-trick in the same match at the Queen’s Park Oval.
He is hoping he can give the fans in Trinidad something to cheer about.
“Actually I am getting the chills already. Being in the colour red (and) not yellow is going to be something special. Maybe walking out on the field to go and bat, I know I am going to get a warm welcome. The last time I played here I scored 121 (not out) and (took) a hat-trick in a game as well. I thought it was just something special. If I do that in this colour, these people will definitely maybe buy me dinner for the next year.”
TKR’s formidable batting has not delivered and it’s one of the reasons the TT franchise are at the bottom of the standings.
Sunil Narine has continued to open the batting for TKR this year, with no success.
Russell, who is also Narine’s teammate with Indian Premier League team Kolkata Knight Riders, believes Narine can produce the goods.
“I have no doubt in Sunil. He is just trying to give the team the best start possible and with batting, the new ball – we all know the new ball swings at times, and he is a guy with a clear head. He knows what he can do, and he knows what you want to do, and he was trying to do that over the past few games, and it just did not come off. Being home in his conditions, I think he will definitely give us the start that we need.”
Russell said once openers Narine and Tion Webster get a positive start it will lay the platform for the rest of the batting, which includes captain Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran and Colin Munro.
Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein suffered a groin injury in TKR’s opener against St Lucia Kings, and is uncertain when he will return.
“It’s progress,” Hosein pointed out. That’s all I can say for now and hoping to get back out on the park soon.”
Hosein said he has all the support he could ask for.
“Every cricketer wants to be on the field and wants to be on the park and playing, but having said that, at the end of the day we are humans, and I am very thankful for the backroom staff. They have been doing a fantastic job in trying to get me back out there as quickly as possible.”