Andre Russell posts screenshot of Phil Simmons' 'beg comment', but refuses to retort to it
Andre Russell hasn't played for West Indies since the end of the T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE last November.
Andre Russell made an interesting response to West Indies head coach Phil Simmons' remarks on "begging" Caribbean's best talent to represent the region at the highest level.
Russell posted a screenshot of an ESPNcricinfo piece headlined on Simmons' quote "we can't beg people to play for West Indies" on his Instagram handle.
The comment from the former West Indies cricketer was directly addressing the likes of Russell, who has not played for the Calypso Kings since the end of the T20 World Cup in UAE last November.
With only two months left for the tournament's next edition in Australia, West Indies would love to have the services of Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and other of their prominent stars to finalise their best playing XI. But they remain unavailable, which has led to a growing sense of frustration and "hurt" among Simmons and the selectors.
Russell, though, suggested with a hint that there is more to the issue than him simply refusing to play for the West Indies in preference of leagues around the world.
"Am gonna stay quiet", Andre Russell responds to Phil Simmons' comments
Ahead of the T20I series against New Zealand, Simmons pointed fingers at Russell and other Caribbean stalwarts unavailable for selection at the international stage but plying their trade in leagues elsewhere.
Russell, for example, is playing The Hundred in the UK while missing the T20Is at home versus India and now New Zealand. He was just unveiled as one of the overseas players registering for the inaugural edition of the International League T20 (ILT20) in UAE, scheduled for early next year.
"It hurts. There's no other way to put it. But what can you do? I don't think that I should be begging people to play for their countries. I think if you want to represent West Indies, you will make yourself available," Simmons was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
"Life has changed, in that people have the opportunities to go different places and if they choose that over West Indies, that's just how it is."
Falling just short of refuting those comments, Simmons took to Instagram and wrote: "I know this was coming but am gonna stay quiet!!!". The allrounder indirectly suggested he and Simmons haven't been in dialogue about his availability to play for the West Indies in this phase.
Apart from Russell, mystery spin legend Sunil Narine, too, hasn't been available for selection. This, at a time when Evin Lewis and Oshane Thomas haven't appeared for the fitness tests that the team management and selectors had scheduled for them.