Player of the Tournament, all-rounder Andre Russell, listed team spirit, plus coach Paul Nixon, as main contributing factors to the Jamaica Tallawahs’ triumph in the just-concluded HERO Motocorp Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 cricket competition.
Jamaica, who were capturing the title for the second time in the tournament’s four-year history, beat Guyana Amazon Warriors by nine wickets in the final at Warner Park, St Kitts and Nevis, on Sunday night.
“I have been in teams before where we lost a game and we swear at each other and we go mad at each other. But not so with the Tallawahs,” outlined Russell.
“We make things very easy in the dressing room, as we are not a team that is going to argue after a loss and that’s what gives a good team spirit.”
The big-hitting Russell, who finished third in the batting and second in the bowling categories for the Tallawahs, behind opener Chris Gayle and fast bowler Kesrick Williams, also lauded the effort of Nixon, who made a return to the team prior to the start of the season.
“I think we have a good coaching staff headed by coach Nico (Nixon), as it is his second year coaching the team and our second championship,” stated Russell.
“He is a great guy, loves the game and is very passionate about the game. Sometimes at 12 a.m. or 1 a.m., he will come and say, ‘Let’s talk cricket’ and I am that kind of guy, I love to talk about the game.”
Having missed two matches early in the tournament because of a knee injury, plus getting married towards the back end of the tournament, in Miami, Florida, the 28-year-old Russell finished the tournament with 286 runs and 11 wickets.
This included a highest score of an even 100, his maiden in Twenty20s, and best wicket haul of four for 23. He was also third in the most sixes category, with 23.
Only the Tallawahs’ Chris Gayle, 37, and Amazon Warriors’ Chris Lynn, 27, hit more.
One of the most widely sought after players in the Twenty20 game, Russell also expressed delight in adding a fifth title under his belt over the past nine months.
This includes victories with the West Indies at the ICC World Twenty20 with West Indies, as well as with West Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League, Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash League and Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League.
“This is my fifth championship within nine months and it’s a big achievement for me,” he stated. “I don’t think any player has done this. I would have to check the records. But five championships within a year, I think I am doing something good.”