St John’s, Antigua – West Indies all rounder Andre Russell has declared that when he eventually retires from the game he wants to be known as a legend and nothing less.
Russell played a superb back-to-the-wall innings for West Indies but they fell to defeat at the hands of India in the Third Digicel Pearls One Day International at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on Saturday.
"When I retire from international cricket, I want to be called a legend. I want to stay here and contribute as much as I can," Russell said after his pyrothenics with the bat.
The young all-rounder from St Catherine in Jamaica came to the crease at Number 9 and saved the West Indies from disaster. He blasted an amazing 92 not out from 64 balls as the home side reached 224-8 from 50 overs. The Windies bowlers then went to work and had the Indians deep in trouble but they rebounded to reach 228-7 — to win by three wickets with 22 balls to spare.
The right-hander smashed the balls all parts of the field and way out of the ground as he counted eight fours and five sixes to beat his previous ODI top score of 49, made against England in Chennai in the recent ICC Cricket World Cup.
"When I went in I was not nervous. I actually ran all the way to the crease. I was pumped up from the start and I knew the team needed me today in a big way. I was batting with a senior partner so I knew I had enough time to get myself settled, build an innings and get a good score for the team," Russell explained.
"It was set-up for me. I was able to get my eye in and then play my natural game. I knew I had the power to clear the boundaries, so I knew once I got the start and batted to the 45th over, I could get the benefits in the last five overs," he said.
Playing in just his sixth One Day International, Russell featured in two significant partnerships. He added 78 for the eighth wicket with keeper Carlton Baugh (35) and another 51 in five overs with tailender Kemar Roach.
"I felt I played really well. What made this innings special for me was the fact that it was under great pressure and it came against India. They are the world champions and to get such a good score against them is a major boost.
"As a cricketer you always like to test yourself against the best. As a young man, trying to make a name for myself, I just want to continue to do well for West Indies and work hard on my game. This innings has given me a lot of confidence and self-belief. I would have to say, the only regret is that we ended on the losing side."
Even though Russell’s batting brought him to prominence on Saturday he still sees himself as a bowling all rounder.
"I see myself as a bowler first. That is the skill I work on the hardest, so I know I have to make some big contributions to the team with the ball as well. When I go to the nets I work on my bowling first and after that I look to get a knock. But I always work on my batting as I always look to play my part in the team," Russell asserted.
India’s win gave then an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match rubber. The Fourth Digicel Pearls ODI will be at the Sir Vivian Richards Grounds on Monday, a public holiday in Antigua.