Brathwaite expresses support for laid-up Russell

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RUSSELL... forced out of the Twenty20 tournament after sustaining a hamstring injury

SYDNEY, Australia (CMC) — Carlos Brathwaite has thrown his support behind West Indies teammate Andre Russell after replacing the injured all-rounder for the remainder of Sydney Thunder’s Big Bash League campaign.

Russell was forced out of the Twenty20 tournament after sustaining a hamstring injury during Thunder’s win over Melbourne Stars seven days ago.

The 28-year-old Brathwaite said he chatted with Russell on his arrival and was hopeful the player could regain fitness soon.

“Obviously it’s not the best circumstances to come in. I spent the night with him the same night I landed, just chilling and chatting,” Brathwaite said.

“I told him I felt he needed a rest, but it’s always sad to see someone get injured, especially someone you’re so close to, someone like him who works as hard as he works and deserves everything that he gets.”

Brathwaite will bring identical talents to those of Russell’s. The barrel-chested Barbadian is a steady seamer who relies mainly on variations, and is an aggressive lower-order batsman and sharp fielder.

He put his abilities on show in last year’s Twenty20 World Cup final, when he blasted consecutive sixes off the first four balls of the final over from Ben Stokes, to lift West Indies to a dramatic victory.

The feat has followed him ever since, but Brathwaite was quick to downplay expectations.

“It’s very hard. I guess the biggest and most difficult expectation was from myself,” Brathwaite said.

“I kind of put those expectations to bed now; I realise I won’t hit four sixes in a row probably ever again. I’m trying to be consistent as I can.”

Brathwaite’s first outing for Thunder earlier this week was a quiet one, taking two wickets and making six as the reigning champions won their second-straight outing after losing their opening four games.

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