Andre Russell to return after facing one-year ban
What's the story?
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is all set to make his comeback to competitive cricket, following a year-long ban which had been imposed on him by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last year, for violation of a whereabouts clause. Russell will be representing Jamaica against Leeward Islands tomorrow in West Indies' domestic one-day tournament game in Antigua.
In case you didn't know..
The ban had been imposed on the 29-year-old by a three-member panel consisting of Hugh Faulkner, Dr Marjorie Vassell and Dixeth Palmer, a former Jamaica cricketer, last year after he was found guilty for negligence in filing his whereabouts thrice within a 12-month duration in 2015. As per the WADA, that was equivalent to a failed dope test.
The period of the ban was from January 31, 2017 to January 30, 2018, which has been served out, and this now opens the door for Russell's return to the cricket field. As a result of him being disallowed to participate in competitive cricket, he had to miss out on the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2017.
What are 'whereabouts'?
'Whereabouts' is the information provided by a limited number of top elite athletes about their location to the International Sport Federations (IFs) or the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO). Being a member of the registered testing pool, notifying the organisations of their whereabouts serves as a part of the athletes' anti-doping responsibilities.
The heart of the matter
His absence sidelined him from major T20 leagues around the world. In fact, in the IPL 2018 auctions in January, he was one of the two players who was retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders – the other was his West Indies teammate Sunil Narine – with the side paying a hefty sum of INR 8.5 crore to secure his services.
Last week, it was reported that Russell, along with Narine, Keiron Pollard and Darren Bravo, would be skipping the World Cup Qualifiers for West Indies this March in order to participate in the PSL, which would be clashing with the same.
After playing in the West Indies' domestic 50-over competition, Russell would be heading for the PSL 2018, which begins on February 22 at Dubai, with his team, the Islamabad United, who would be playing their first match the following day against the Peshawar Zalmi on the same ground.
Post the PSL, the Jamaica big-hitter would be flying to India for the IPL, which is set for an April 7 beginning.
While there is little doubt about Russell's T20 potential, him – and the others – having opted for T20 cricket over his country's World Cup Qualifiers seems surprising. Considering West Indies already have a highly inexperienced squad, that would be facing a confident-looking Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, among others, Russell's presence could have provided a major boost to his national side.