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Russell praying ahead of anti-doping verdict

31 January 2017

Russell's fate will be determined this week // Getty Images

West Indies and Sydney Thunder allrounder waits for anti-doping verdict, which could mean a ban from the game

Andre Russell’s fate is set to be revealed tomorrow when Jamaica’s Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel hands down its findings on an anti-doping charge that threatens the immediate playing future of the Sydney Thunder allrounder.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has accused Russell of committing a 'whereabouts rule' violation for either missing three drug tests or failing to provide accurate whereabouts information within an 18-month period.

An anti-doping hearing was conducted over a three-month period last year and the West Indian could face a suspension of up to two years under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations if found guilty.

The 28-year-old admits the threat of a ban has been weighing on his mind.

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"It’s been stressing and hard playing cricket and all that’s in the back of your head,” Russell told the Jamaica Observer.

"But at the end of the day you have to do what you have to do. It’s like a big cloud over my head.

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"If I get a ban then definitely I’m out of cricket (during the period of the suspension) – I mean all formats. So I’d just love to know I’m back and I can represent Jamaica Tallawahs, West Indies, and all the other teams I play for in the world.

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"Honestly, I’m being positive and I haven’t been thinking about anything else that I want to do apart from playing cricket; doing what I love.

"I have so many fans out there and they would be disappointed, just as I would be.

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"After this hurdle I’d come together with my management and think about doing something else, but I just want to remain positive at the moment. I think I can (avoid a suspension) with the help of God. I think it’s out of my control, so I just have to wait on what happens on Tuesday."

Russell said he had faith in his lawyers, including Queen’s Counsel Patrick Foster and Donovan Walker, to get a favourable result.

Russell cut down by injury against the Stars

The big-hitting 28-year-old represented the Thunder in this season’s KFC Big Bash League competition, but his campaign was brought to a premature end when he suffered a hamstring injury during his team’s last-ball win over the Melbourne Stars on January 4. Russell played five matches for the Thunder, returning three wickets and four single-figured scores.

The man who boasts a career strike rate of 164.71 in Twenty20 matches also attracted attention when he unveiled a black bat in the Thunder’s opening match against cross-town rivals Sydney Sixers last month.

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He returned to the field for St Catherine Cricket Club on Saturday, grabbing three wickets in his side’s win over Melbourne CC in a 50-over fixture in the Jamaican capital Kingston.

Sydney Thunder Director of Cricket Mike Hussey told cricket.com.au earlier this month that Russell "been to hell and back" dealing with the anti-doping charge and his injury issues.

"I feel for him. He's been going through a really tough time of late with all the 'whereabouts' saga going on and he's been waiting to hear the finding of that hearing,” Hussey said.

"I want him to go away and get better physically but also mentally.

"Hopefully get this saga over and behind him, he gets cleared and he can get on living his life and getting back to really enjoying his cricket again.

"He's been to hell and back.

"I have a lot for empathy for him, not as in I know what he's feeling, but I think at times people are too quick to judge him.

"He's gone through a really tough time and I just want him to get better and get his life back on track."

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West Indies Men

Andre Russell

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Carters farewells professional cricket // Getty