West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons has stated that he was not privy to the fact that Andre Russell will take part in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) which is starting on Thursday. Russell opted out of the T20I series against New Zealand commencing on Friday.
There have been several instances when Caribbean players have preferred to play franchise cricket over West Indies. Last year as well, Russell opted out for T20Is against India but was seen playing in the Canada T20 League.
Along with Andre Russell, Evin Lewis, and Lendl Simmons have opted out of the New Zealand tour- all the three players did play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) when cricket resumed after the lockdown.
The Jamaican all-rounder played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2020 in UAE. Russell was a major letdown this season as he scored just 117 runs in 10 matches and picked six wickets. He missed the last phase of the tournament owing to his consistent injury issues.
That is the same reason, Russell initially was reported to skip the LPL. However, he has now arrived in Sri Lanka and will play for the Colombo Kings in the opening match of the tournament against Kandy Tuskers.
I didn’t know he was in Sri Lanka: Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons seems surprised to learn that the all-rounder will play in the LPL. He said that it is breaking news to him. The coach hasn’t talked with Russell since he had come to New Zealand a couple of weeks ago.
Simmons shared that he hasn’t been in talks with the 32-year-old KKR player after the IPL. The 57-year-old coach had no idea that Russell is in Sri Lanka. He also refused to speak much until he gains complete knowledge about the matter.
As quoted by ESPNCricinfo, Phil Simmons said, “That’s news to me. I haven’t spoken to him since we came down here to New Zealand. He was at the IPL and I haven’t spoken to him since then. I didn’t know he was in Sri Lanka. I can’t answer your question about that until I know what the whole situation is.”