West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is set to replace Melbourne Renegades’ No.1 pick, Liam Livingstone, as a substitute. Jamaican Russell has replaced Livingstone, who was the No.1 pick in the BBL Draft, but he won’t be available as he was named into England’s Test squad for the tour of Pakistan in December.
Russell was overlooked in August’s BBL|12 draft due to his limited size and high price tag, but with Livingston’s call-up to England’s Test squad for their tour of Pakistan in December, Russell will get a chance to play four matches.
Accordingly, Russell will be available for the Renegades’ opening four matches in the KFC BBL|12 before the Englishman joins the team. Russell is a most experienced Twenty20 cricketer in the world with 7176 runs and 381 wickets in 428 matches.
It will be his second stint as a Renegade after he first represented the club in BBL|04, and his fourth season in the competition after previous campaigns with Sydney Thunder and most recently the Melbourne Stars last summer.
Commenting on the entry into the tournament, Russell said that the Renegades will be looking to get off to a roaring start.
“I love playing in Australia and I’m looking forward to seeing all the Renegades fans turn out at Marvel Stadium and in Geelong.”
“I will be doing everything I can to help the Melbourne Renegades start the tournament with a bang.”
Renegades head coach David Saker said at the time that they would have taken Russell with their next pick if Mujeeb and Tom Curran had been retained by the Heat and the Sixers.
However, Russell was also overlooked for the West Indies squad for this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, where the two-time world champions crashed out of the tournament courtesy of defeats to Scotland and Ireland before reaching the crucial Super 12 stage with the selectors.
Russell’s most recent Twenty20 appearances came in the Caribbean Premier League in September for Trinbago Knight Riders, where he managed 119 runs and just six wickets in 10 matches.
But his explosive 2022 Indian Premier League and T20 campaigns were impressive, smashing 483 runs, with top scores of 70 and 64, while topping his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders’ tally with 17 wickets.
Melbourne Renegades general manager James Rosengarten said they had positive discussions with Russell throughout the draft process, even though they did not select one of their picks.
“We were always keen to try to get him back in red. With Liam’s availability changing after the draft, there was an opportunity to add Andre to our group and we jumped at it.”
“He’s a proven match-winner and exactly the type of player we need. He adds to our team in all three facets of the game – his ability to clear the boundary, take wickets and make things happen in the field.”
The Renegades will begin their BBL 12 campaign on December 15 against the Heat in Cairns before hosting the Thunder at Marvel Stadium on December 18.
Melbourne Renegades BBL|12 squad (so far): Nic Maddinson (c), Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Akeal Hosein (WI), Ruwantha Kellapotha (SL), Liam Livingstone (Eng), Shaun Marsh, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Corey Rocchiccioli, Tom Rogers, Andre Russell (WI), Will Sutherland, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afg), Jon Wells.