Andre Russell: Why was he banned and Where is he now?

The T20 specialist, Andre Russell faced a severe punishment owing to a violation of doping rules in the year 2017. West Indies all-rounder suffered a major setback as he violated one of the most genuine clauses of anti-doping regulations. He served a one year band starting January 2017 that lasted till January 30, 2018. A three-member panel comprising of Hugh Faulkner, Dr. Marjorie Vassell, and Dixeth Palmer, announced the verdict on the charges pressed by the Jamaica Anit-Doping Commission (JADCO). However, most cricket fans wondered as to why was Andre Russell banned? We take a detailed look at the turn of events.

Why was Andre Russell banned?

In March 2016, the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission approached the court against Russell for showing sheer negligence. He allegedly failed to file his whereabouts on January 1, July 1, and July 25 in 2015 despite several reminders through calls, e-mails, and written letters.

Interestingly, Russell was not accused of consuming illegal drugs and products. In fact, the globetrotter was accused of breaching the whereabouts clause which is necessary for all the elite athletes to provide to the concerned authorities. In a gist, the whereabout clause makes expects all the registered athletes to render their locations regularly to the International sports federation (ISF) or National anti-doping organization (NADO). The clause in an attempt to ensure that the sport remains free from the clutches of drugs and dope.

Although, he was quick to appeal against the verdict but failed to find any respite. While JADCO wanted to extend the suspension period to two years, Russell was expecting that the ban to be lifted. However, Russell was successful in ensuring that the ban was not extended but failed to get it lifted. Due to the punishment, the T20 star performer failed to leave an imprint for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League.

Russell had a tough year as he could not play in major ICC tournaments as well as the T20 leagues like Pakistan Super League, Caribbean Premier League. Moreover, Andre Russell was banned from IPL 2017.

Source: Andre Russell @Russell12A

Russell's journey after his ban was lifted

Indeed it was just a matter of time as the prolific all-rounder was back into action once the ban was lifted. Interestingly, the pinch-hitter was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2018.

The retention fee of a whopping INR 8.5 Crores spoke volumes of his stature as a T20 player. The investment of the team management on Russell bore fruits in the 10th edition of the tournament. Andre Russell was banned from IPL in 2017 but coming back from the ban, he showed no mercy with the bat in hand in 2018. In his 16 outings, he slaughtered 316 runs at a stellar strike rate of 184.79.

His best performance came against the mighty Chennai Super Kings. He smashed CSK bowlers to all parts of the ground exhibiting his sheer dominance at Chepauk. He came in to bat in the 11th over with KKR struggling at 89 for 5. However, what followed was a power-hitting of the highest order as he scored 88 runs off 36 balls including a massive 11 sixes.

Where is Andre Russell now?

Post his ban, Russell has continued his hunger for runs and has regained his prominence.  Statistics reflect that in 2019, he scored 1080 runs at a strike rate of 182.12 across all T20s. With fans wondering, ‘Where is Andre Russell now?', has only been answered with consistent performances, especially in the T20 format. He continues to be a threat for all bowlers in the death overs and has begun to contribute even with the ball in hand.

In IPL 2019, Russell was named the IPL's Most Valuable Player of the tournament, solely for his destruction caused with the bat in the death overs. Of late, he is engaged in finding his rhythm back. Russell drew flak from the fans and experts after an ordinary performance in IPL 2021. Despite getting a five-wicket haul, Russell couldn't live up to the standard of expectations that he has set for himself. He scored 183 runs in 10 matches, resulting into a below par outing for himself in IPL 2021.

KKR retained Andre Russell in IPL 2021

Russell's value as a T20 player can be estimated from the fact that Kolkata Knight Riders retained him as their first retention ahead of the 2022 IPL auction. He adds strength to the Kolkata-based franchise both with bat and ball in hand. The management at KKR has been quite vocal in backing Russell to the hilt. Given what he brings to the table, it was no surprise that the hard-hitting all-rounder was retained by the franchise.

As far as Russell's scorecard is concerned, the middle-order batsman has bagged 741 runs in 67 T20I matches. In the 56 ODI matches, he has hammered 1034 runs at a stellar strike rate of 130.23. With the ball, he has toppled a whopping 70 wickets in 56 ODIs. Therefore, Russell has shaped himself into a matured cricketer over the years.