West Indies to make late call on Russell for World Cup opener

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West Indies will make a late call on Andre Russell for the World T20 opener against England on Saturday, starting 10:00h (Guyana time).

The Jamaican all-rounder picked up a hamstring injury during the 2021 Indian Premier League and played his first game- a World Cup warm-up contest against Afghanistan on Tuesday– after being out of action since September 25.

He picked up 1-13 off two overs and made 11 off 16, but seemed far from being fully recovered.

Skipper Kieron Pollard, speaking on the eve of his side’s first dip in Super 12 action of the World Cup, said Russell’s place in the starting XI is not a foregone conclusion.

“Obviously we have our last practice session this afternoon and we will have a last look and see if we’re confident he can take the field,” Pollard said.

The West Indies captain indicated that the warm-up was more of a “trial” for the dynamic all-rounder, as he seeks to get back to full fitness.

“There was still some rust there for him. He still needs to be bit confident in his mind, but he’s been working tirelessly behind the scenes to be fit. Let’s see what transpires in this last session.”

While uncertainty lingers over Russell, skipper Kieron Pollard said the rest of the starting XI is basically settled.

“I think from a management perspective we have an idea of what we want and which personnel we want to get on the cricket field, so I’m not actually going to give you it (the starting XI), but as I said, we’re very, very clear in our minds what we want to achieve,” Pollard said.

The last time West Indies and England clashed in the World T20 was in the 2016 final when Carlos Brathwaite struck four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to seal a memorable win at Eden Gardens.

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