Captain Jason Holder said Friday West Indies had no intention of ditching Andre Russell, even though the injury-plagued all-rounder yet again failed to complete a game at the World Cup here.
Russell appeared in discomfort during his 16-ball 21 and two overs of seam during the England run chase, and eventually left the field as the hosts and tournament favourites cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket win at the Rose Bowl.
“It’s been difficult so far for him. We have been trying our best to keep him on the park, but it is proving difficult,” Holder told reporters afterwards.
“Going forward, we have to persist. He is here for a reason. We think he can be a match-winner for us. We have just got to cope with him. Got to do everything we possibly can with him to keep him on the park.”
Russell suffers with a chronic knee problem and arrived at the World Cup with question marks over his fitness, especially after he was ruled out of the limited overs series against England in the Caribbean earlier this year.
He shone in the Indian Premier League prompting his inclusion for the World Cup but has so far taken just four wickets from 13 overs and scored 36 runs, from his three outings.
Questioned on if Russell was worth the risk despite the impact his lack of fitness was having on his performances, Holder responded tersely: “Yes.”
West Indies were once again let down by their batsmen as they tasted defeat for the second time in four outings. Sent in, they crumbled for an inadequate 212 in the 45th over, which England chased down with ease with nearly 17 overs remaining.
Worryingly for West Indies, they much vaunted pace attack seemed muted as Joe Root dominated with exactly 100 not out, but Holder put the performance down to “just one of those days”.
“It’s just one of those days. I felt the sun came out in the second half and the wicket flattened out,” he explained.
“We just didn’t get new-ball wickets today and it is one out of four games that we have played and we haven’t got new-ball wickets so it is just one of those days.”