Brathwaite replaces injured Russell
Andre Russell’s problematic Big Bash League campaign has been ended by a combination of hamstring and knee injuries, with the Sydney Thunder calling up his West Indies T20 team-mate Carlos Brathwaite to replace him.
Having entered the tournament still waiting on a verdict from the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission over allegations of missing drug tests, Russell was visibly hampered by a knee problem which compounded when he tore his left hamstring during the Thunder’s last-gasp win over the Melbourne Stars on Wednesday night.
“Andre has been playing with long standing tendinitis of the right knee, that flared up in the opening rounds for the BBL,” the Thunder physio Murray Ryan said. “This was investigated via MRI following the Perth Scorchers game and several interventions implemented to assist his symptoms and allow him to continue playing.
“Unfortunately Andre’s playing fitness has been compounded further by an injury to his left hamstring – the extent of this injury to be confirmed further via scans in Sydney tomorrow, however initial signs suggest a minimum 4-6 week recovery.”
Paddy Upton, the Sydney Thunder coach, acknowledged that Russell had been in difficult straits during the tournament, not only physically but due to the implications of the looming drugs verdict. “It’s been a very tough period of his career with his pending judgement hanging over his head and to also be carrying a long standing injury into this tournament,” Upton said. “It’s credit to his professionalism and commitment to his game and Thunder that he’s stuck it out.”
Brathwaite toured Australia last summer with the West Indies, then made his name during last year’s World T20 in India, thumping the winning runs against England in the final. “Carlos is dedicated to learning and advancing his game,” Upton said.
“With both bat and ball he’s a very skilled T20 cricketer. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him for a season in the IPL and he really is the highest quality individual. He’s a top quality cricketer and person, which ticks the two big boxes when it comes to Thunder recruiting players.”