World Cup 2019: Holder hopeful of Russell being fit for Australia clash

Andre Russell has had to deal with recurring knee issues over the years and was seen limping in the field after his fiery spell against Pakistan.

Jason Holder at a press conference ahead of the World Cup 2019 match between West Indies and Australia.   -  AFP

West Indies captain Jason Holder on Wednesday said that he is “very, very hopeful” of star all-rounder Andre Russell getting fit in time for its World Cup game against Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on Wednesday.

Russell has had to deal with recurring knee issues over the years and was seen limping in the field after his fiery spell against Pakistan.

While Chris Gayle has regained full fitness, Russell has not, said Holder on eve of the game.

“The beauty with both of those guys (Gayle and Russell) is they’ve played enough cricket. We just tend to trust them, take their word and then make a final determination on the team then,” said the captain.

“Chris was at practice for the last couple days, so he is all well and ready to go for me. Andre will be assessed in training, and we’re very, very hopeful that he’ll be fit.”

Holder’s side and Australia renew a battle that goes right to the beginning of World Cup history with this game a repeat of the first final in 1975. The West Indies came out on top then but Australia has boasted the best record since, with no side winning close to the five titles it has in its collection.

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Yet when it comes to Thursday’s titanic tussle, what’s written in the history books is firmly in the past for Holder. Instead the focus is on maintaining the form that inspired victory over Pakistan last Friday, with a tough test in store against an Australia side also on a high from victory over Afghanistan.

“It’s always been a great rivalry between West Indies and Australia. I think everybody is expecting a really good contest. We’re up for the challenge. I think they’re up for the challenge, as well.

“I wouldn’t really get too deep into rivalries, but we expect a really good contest from the Australians. I’m not caught up with rivalry, I’m not caught up with the past per se. It’s a matter for us to go into the game looking to execute our plans and beat Australia,” Holder added.