Andre Russell has admitted that he had changed his stance, technique and put on a new trigger movement after nothing was going his way just to score runs in the IPL. He also added that ‘country’ comes before anything for him and reasoned ‘not being in the right headspace’ for denying national duty.
KKR suffered one of their worst runs in the IPL, on the back of Andre Russell’s wretched form where he was not getting any sort of momentum going with his willow. After watching his form wither away, the Jamaican all-rounder also changed his stance, technique and brought out a new trigger movement to bring back his appetite for runs, which evidently didn’t work out for him.
“When he [Harper] reached out to me, I told the chairman that my headspace is not clear. I changed my stance, I changed my technique, I changed my trigger movement, all these things I changed just to score runs in IPL and nothing was going my way,” Russell told a Jamaica-based TV network SportsMax.
Having swapped bubbles from the Caribbean Premier League to the Indian Premier League, Russell also admitted that the pressure was ‘real’ and he just wanted everything to go behind him very quickly with the game coming in thick and fast.
“The pressure was real. I’m a tough player, and I didn’t know I could actually feel what happened during this year’s IPL. And I just wanted everything to go quickly behind me,” he added.
It was during this time, the all-rounder received a call from West Indies’ chief selector Roger Harper before they decided the squad to face New Zealand. Russell revealed his conversation with Kieron Pollard, where he admitted that he was ‘struggling’ and wasn’t in a good headspace with runs seemingly evading him.
"The chairman reached out to me while I was playing IPL, but before that, I was talking to Pollard. And Pollard asked me and said: "Russ, I'm not forcing you, I'm just asking you: "Are you coming to New Zealand?" I said, "yeah, man, I would want to come, but right now, Polly, my headspace is messed up. I'm struggling, I'm not getting no runs, all of this," he added.
After missing out from the series against New Zealand, Russell was seen performing at his best in the Lanka Premier League, which irked the Windies fans and the management on his decision. However, Russell affirmed that playing for West Indies comes first to him ahead of other things in cricketing life.
"Playing for West Indies comes first for me. And the energy and effort that I put out playing for West Indies, I wouldn't do it playing anywhere else. Sometimes people don't understand what a player like myself goes through with niggles and all of those things. But they're just going to judge, and it's easy for them to judge," he said.
While his call later to be included in the squad for New Zealand series was too late, Russell admitted that at the age of 32, he’s more conscious in taking the right decisions on the field which would still keep him in the right form and shape.
"I'm 32 years old now, I've been injury-prone for the last couple of years, struggling with knee injury, and having hamstring injuries and stuff like that. I don't want anyone to say that next time Andre Russell puts on the West Indies colours, he's going to get injured. No one walks out on the field and say "I'm going to get injured today, no player.”