“We know the quality he comes with” – Skipper Rovman Powell excited about Russell’s return to West Indies T20 squad

Star all-rounder Andre Russell made a successful return to international cricket as the West Indies showed they could be a force to be reckoned with at next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with an impressive four-wicket victory over England in Barbados on Tuesday.

It was Russell’s first international match in more than two years and the talented 35-year-old turned it on in style with a three-wicket haul and an unbeaten 29* from 14 balls as the Caribbean side chased down England’s decent total of 171 with 11 deliveries remaining.

The run chase was the highest successful one at the picturesque Kensington Oval ground in Barbados, surpassing the previous best of 155/5 by the West Indies also against England in 2014.

West Indies T20 skipper Rovman Powell has expressed excitement at the return of all-rounder Andre Russell to the West Indies T20 side on the five games against England.

Andre Russell, who last participated for West Indies in the 2021 T20 World Cup held in UAE, is making a return to the national team after a two-year gap.

“It’s always good to have Andre Russell in a West Indies team,” Powell said in a pre-match press conference on Monday.

“We know the quality that he comes with and he’s fit and rearing and ready to go put on the maroon again for the people of the Caribbean. It’s exciting time for me as a Captain and also for the fans,” he added.

Powell and Russell, along with fellow squad members Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Mayers, Akeal Hosein and Jason Holder, were most recently a part of the Abu Dhabi T10 League, a fact that the skipper thinks will help them in this upcoming series.

“We have enough cricket under our belt to do well at the international level. It’s good that the guys played games in Abu Dhabi right down to the finals and if you look at the individual performances, they were very good so that brings confidence coming into this series,” Powell said.

“I’m very excited. When you look on our team that includes so much returning guys, it’s a powerful team. Having said that, we still have to play some good cricket and put it together as a complete team and from an individual perspective,” he added.

The last time the West Indies hosted England for a T20I series, they came out as 3-2 winners. Powell finished that series as the second-leading run scorer with 147 runs in three innings, including a career best 107* at Kensington Oval, the venue for Tuesday’s series opener.

“It’s always nice to be in Barbados. It always brings back good memories especially against England so it’s good to be here,” Powell said.

“It’s important for me to try my best and lead from the front. Once you lead from the front, players will always follow so I’m looking at my personal game and once I come to the party, naturally the guys will follow,” he added.

With the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup a few months away, Powell says this series gives the team an opportunity to find combinations that will work for them.

“It’s very important. It’s good that we’ve played T20 series’ before so we have an idea of the combinations that will work well for us. These five games against England provide another opportunity for us to fine tune whatever areas we need to fine tune,” he said.

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