I won't play Big Bash - Russell upset over Gayle saga
JAMAICA and West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell said whereas he is looking forward to returning to international Twenty20 cricket, the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia is not among the leagues on his list.
Russell said the treatment meted out his friend and idol, Chris Gayle, has turned him off from venturing Down Under.
Russell, serving a one-year ban for three whereabouts violations, which, under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, equate to a failed drug test, said he is looking forward to returning for the Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League, Kolkotta Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League and the Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League.
However, he said when the time comes for him to consider a full season in Australia, he will not be taking calls from clubs asking for his signature.
Gayle was accused of harassing Australian broadcaster Mel McLaughlin during a live television interview during the 2015-16 season. Though not punished by the league, the Jamaican opted out of participating the following season, saying he wanted to spend time with his family.
"To be honest, based on how Big Bash dealt with Chris Gayle, I'm not really feeling it again," he said. "Chris Gayle is my idol and to see how something stupid turned into this big thing, I didn't like that."
"I don't know if it's because we're black but a lot of times guys are doing interviews with both males and females and they say silly things. Some of the white guys do it and they are hilarious, but when a black man or a West Indian does things like that... I don't know what's the difference or why they have to make it such a big thing.
"It drains my energy from returning. Christmas is quality time to spend with your family so I'm gonna skip Big Bash in the future, until my mind tells me to go and play some Big Bash again."
Russell praised KKR for supporting him during his ban, offering him a retainer contract.
"They made me feel like the one year was six months. I think that is such a good thing to know that you have a big team like KKR, behind me 100 per cent.
"It was like a month after the ban that they sent me the retainer contract. I couldn't resist the figures on it because to know that I'm coming back into cricket, after a year, not playing, I was overwhelmed.
"I really appreciate everything that they did and it takes my mind off the stress of being home banned, knowing that I have something to look forward to in 2018. Not just KKR but the other teams like Islamabad and Dhaka.
"In the future, I want to make sure that every time I cross the ropes, I do my best for them because they were behind me during the down time," Russell added.
Russell's ban ends January 31, next year. He has been training with St Catherine Cricket Club, preparing for his return.