The Melbourne Stars will bring in one of the biggest names in the T20 game in Andre Russell to boost their campaign. With injuries aplenty and a horrendous start to the season on Sunday in losing heavily to the Sixers, they certainly need him.
Russell returns to the BBL
Andre Russell, the West Indies, Jamaica and KKR all-rounder has signed up to play five games for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League 2021.
In a stop-gap move, they’ll have him for a few weeks after he returned from scoring a quite ridiculous knock of 90 from just 32 balls for the Deccan Gladiators in the T10 league in Abu Dhabi.
This will be the second time Russell features in the BBL after a spell for the Sydney Thunder between 2015 and 2017, the last year of which saw him win the title in a team also featuring Shane Watson and Jacques Kallis.
He was a key member of that team, scoring 296 runs in 17 knocks with a typically sky-high strike rate of 166, while also taking 23 wickets at an economy rate of 7.97.
After the mandatory quarantine period, Russell will be available to play on Friday against his old team, the Thunder.
Betway makes the Stars 1.9 to win the game.
Stars depleted by injuries
When they lost by a record margin of 152 runs to the Stars in the opening game of the campaign, they were missing a load of important players.
Opener Marcus Stoinis, middle-order batsman Joe Burns, tall fast bowler Billy Stanlake and all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile were all absent through injury.
All four of them would probably have played, had they been fit.
Having Russell on board will, as ever, give them great balance.
If fully fit he’s more than capable of bowling his four overs and will probably bat at five, one place below skipper Glenn Maxwell.
A few concerns for the Stars to be aware of
Signing one of the best T20 players ever to play the format was a no-brainer for the Stars once he was available and they hadn’t filled their quota of overseas players.
But it’s not all plain sailing for them and Russell.
The 33 year-old’s injury problems have been well-documented and he missed the back end of the IPL through injury as KKR made, and lost, the 2021 IPL final.
He was then very quiet at the T20 World Cup as the Windies lost their two opening matches, effectively ruling them out of a semi-final place, before losing their final game against Australia, as well.
Fans of the Stars should also remember that he’ll only be playing five games here.
So if ‘Dre Russ’ does his thing and scores a mountain of quick runs while also taking some wickets, they’ll need to plan for life after him when he departs, which will be at the halfway stage of the Group Stages.
On Sunday they only fielded two overseas players with England batsman Joe Clarke, joined by 20 year-old Pakistani spinner Syed Faridoun.
Russell’s spell at the Stars will end just as Pakistani fast bowler Rauf Harris, who’s had plenty of access at the Stars in the past, returns for another campaign.