Holder shrugs off injury concerns over Russell, Gabriel

Sunday, June 16, 2019

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SOUTHAMPTON, England — West Indies captain Jason Holder shrugged off injury concerns about two of the team's key players after Friday's eight-wicket defeat to England in the Cricket World Cup game at Hampshire Bowl.

All-rounder Andre Russell, who has long-standing problem in both knees, was in clear discomfort during his 16-ball 21, as West Indies could only manage 212 all out. The 31-year-old bowled just two overs before hobbling off the field as England coasted to 213-2 in 33 overs and one ball.

“It's been difficult so far for him, we've been trying our best to keep him on the park, but it's been proving difficult. Going forward we've just got to persist — he's here for a reason and we think he can be a match winner for us. We just got to cope with him, do everything we possibly can with him to keep him on the park,” Holder told journalists during a post-game conference.

Russell, a prized asset due to his power hitting, pace bowling and explosive fielding, was a touch-and-go inclusion for the World Cup due to the problems with his knees. But West Indies selectors could not overlook his brilliant form with the bat in the 2019 Indian Premier League.

Though bowling only a combined 13 overs so far at the World Cup, Russell has been impactful, taking four wickets in three games. However, he is yet to hit his stride with the bat, tallying only 36 runs in two innings.

Asked if the risk is worth it, Holder flatly responded: “Yes.”

Ace paceman Shannon Gabriel, 31, took the team's two wickets on Friday, but left the field just before the end with an apparent leg injury after completing seven overs. During one of the team's pre-tournament warm-up games in late May, the burly Gabriel was unable to complete his spell after picking up a niggle.

Holder was questioned regarding the fitness of the fast bowler, who was playing his first game of the tournament.

“He bowled right down to the end. Yeah, he slipped at the very, very end, [but] I think he's alright,” the West Indies skipper told reporters.

In recent years, Gabriel's wicket-taking ability and sheer aggression have seen him emerge as the spearhead of the West Indies fast-bowling attack.

West Indies are set to play their fifth game of the preliminary stage when they meet Bangladesh in Taunton tomorrow.

— Sanjay Myers


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