Birthday boy Russell itching to make amends

Andre Russell and Ashish Nehra had every reason to feel doubly happy on Monday.

Not only was it their birthday, but their Delhi Daredevils team had given them a great gift by finally getting off the bottom of the Pepsi Indian Premier League table with a win over Pune Warriors India.

For West Indian all-rounder Russell, it has been a difficult season as he has got limited opportunities and failed to deliver with bat or ball, but he is not losing heart.

“The win was a birthday gift for sure. It’s been a tough season for me, and whenever I’ve got the opportunity, I’ve tried to make it count. In any case, it’s difficult for an overseas player to play every game, so it’s been even more difficult. But I’ll keep working hard, and hope I get a chance again soon,” Russell told MAIL TODAY here on Monday.

West Indies cricketers have, over the years, developed a reputation for being guns for hire in T20s, but Russell wants to be different by sticking to the Daredevils.

“I don’t see any other franchises I would like to go to, because I’m settled here.

Delhi is one of the nicest places in India, I enjoy spending time there. Plus, we are like family, and I enjoy being with these guys. Win or lose, they’re just a lot of fun to be with,” he said.

“I hope I can be here for a few more seasons.

Obviously, getting my performance right is the priority. A lot of people know what Andre Russell can do, but I’m not getting that performance right. Next time I cross the rope for Delhi, I hope I can do what I’m capable of.”

Also read: Delhi vacate last spot for Pune

Asked how he would categorise himself as a cricketer, Russell said: “ Bowling comes first to me, and I take a lot of pride in it. I don’t like to be smashed around. Being of that mindset, I would call myself a bowling all- rounder.” It has been a terrible season for Delhi, with just two wins in nine games, but Russell urged the fans to keep believing.

“These things happen, it’s a game after all. We are professionals, we can’t really settle for losing. We always try to get things back on track. We have an excellent owner — if it was a guy who would easily get grumpy, it would’ve been more pressure.

But win or lose, we have our team drink and team dinner and he’s always smiling. That’s the best thing in competitions like these. It gives us the strength to go out and keep fighting,” he signed off.

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