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“To be good or to be great, you have to have weirdness,” says Jamaican cricketer Andre Russell 2022

“Jerk chicken”, “Bollywood music” with some “weirdness” – find out more about professional cricketer, Andre Russell and what he is doing here in the UAE.

ITP Live Interview with Andre Russell professional Jamaican cricketer

Player of the match Andre Russell and skipper Nicholas Pooran’s power-hitting helped Deccan Gladiators overpower Samp Army to reach the final and become the T10 champions for the second time in a row. We speak with Russell to find out more about the hero behind the game and get an insight into his journey, life, routine, and why he thinks “weirdness” may be the key to success.

We know it’s a bit of a generic question, but tell us about your journey into cricket

AR: I actually have an interesting story – It started in primary school where once it’s cricket season, football season, or track season we go on the tracks. So doing all those three activities, I realised I have something special in cricket and football. I then went to high school and based on the direction it was going, my friends, family, and teachers would take time to watch me play as I was a step ahead of the other kids. The decision came when I had to make a decision at 17 about whether I’d choose cricket or football. My principal said to me “listen, man, go home, ask your family and teammate which one to choose” and I told him they can’t choose for me because I know which one I love and which one I want.

A lot of guys would choose football as it’s the one where they would watch after school and cricket was the boring one. All the pretty girls would watch the football and that made me jealous because we were doing well. But, me being here shows the true definition of making the right choice at the right time.

What brings you to the UAE?

AR: I am here for the T10. We started with a win so trying to defend the championship as we won last year and managed to do that with our win this year. My objective today is working with the brand T4tec which I’m so happy to be part of and that’s the future.

Talk us through your ‘day in the life of’ and how you mentally prepare yourself for a game

AR: A few years back I scored 2016, and that day it was just a day I slept in and relaxed. I got up, played music, singing in the shower, and tried to be relaxed as possible. For me, as a professional we try to copy when we do well and it’s a thing for me as well since that day, I try to repeat what I did that day. I woke up, went to the team meeting fully focused, and scored 100 of 42 balls.

It doesn’t happen all the time as it’s hard to get it all the time but it’s superstition and we all have a bit of superstition in us.

You talk about your goto song, so which one gets you into that zone?

AR: It’s going to surprise you but I like to listen to all different types of music because I do music as well. I have an ear for different types of beats and listen to Bollywood – I have comptime song as well *starts singing.* Even if I like the song but don’t understand the lyrics, I will ask someone what they mean which does end up shocking them.

It’s a nice way of connecting with people too – through music. Are you strict with your fitness routine?

AR: Not as much as I should be because when you travel and go on a flight, you’re trying to eat clean and consistently but you don’t see what you want. I get where I’m going to start the routine and I have a lot of vitamins to make sure my body is in top shape. Training is also important – you know, I push my body to the limit while we’re off-season and it becomes easier when you put in the work off the field.

Sometimes it’s also a mental feeling too – do you do any meditation?

AR: Meditation. My type of meditation would be a bit different where I spend a lot of time by myself. I would just put my phone down, and put a pillow over it where I don’t even hear it vibrate because I’ll end up checking who it is that’s calling which suddenly breaks my concentration.

ITP Live Interview with Andre Russell professional Jamaican cricketer

Where I live in Jamaica is on the hills so it’s a nice view looking down at the city I would normally put my phone away and sit down, clear my mind, take a deep breath, relax, and sometimes I would talk to myself. Many people don’t do it but I talk to myself a lot and tell myself what I want to achieve, and what I want to do and I think that works for me.

When I talk to other good players the things they say to me are shocking. To be good or to be great you have to have weirdness.

Weirdness, in what sense?

AR: Like, simple things like you wouldn’t imagine. I spoke with Chris Gayle and Brian Lara on the way back to the Caribbean a year ago and he would say that sometimes he would just go to practice and don’t bat a ball whereas another cricketer would bat for hours on end. Sometimes when you know your game like what Brian Lara said, you already know what you need to do and that stuck with me.

Just go to practice to get out of your hotel or go for a walk around – look at what the other guys doing and do some shadow practice. That’s the difference between good players and great players.

Who knew a little weirdness will take you a long way? Backtracking a little – you have a huge following on social media and you mentioned staying offline by putting your phone away. But how do you try to connect with your fans and what do you want to achieve through SM?

AR: Recently, I was a bit quiet on Instagram and then went live in the gym. It was like a boxing/cross-fitness gym and I had my shirt off. I was saying to the fans or whoever was watching you see this? this pouch is going to be gone in two weeks! People were like two weeks? No way. When I’m in this mood, I eat well and eat right, at a certain time, get my rest, and recover properly in two weeks I took a picture posting it. Everyone thought it was a filter or photoshopped so I went live again. After that, I was getting thumbs up, thumbs up with them asking me how I did it. You have to have a lot of sacrifices and I know what I need to lose weight. Off-season I have some jerk chicken, have some tasty Jamaican meal – I know what to do to get back into my full shape.

You’re showing your followers that if you put your mind to it, then anything is possible which is great.

AR: I would say this is what I’m about to do. I would show the recovery process as well in the pool, swimming, and running around. Then the second session of the day you practice for two hours every day. You’re not gonna get a six-pack or the body you want to achieve with one session in the day. You have to go to the gym in the morning, put in the work, go back home and sleep for two hours, and get the recovery for another session in the evening.

How long are your sessions in the gym?

AR: I would say around 1 hour and 20 minutes. The fitter I get, the longer I work out. Sometimes I would go to the gym at 10 then the first three to four days I would leave just after 11 so when I start getting into good shape, I would leave the gym at 12 PM. After that, it’s straight home, get something to eat, get a massage, and be ready for the next session in the evening. The more you work out, the fitter your body gets, and you realise the work gets easier.

To wrap up, give us some exclusive news

AR: What I have coming up is launching T4tec – this brand means a lot to me and it’s a part of me giving back to fans and people who can’t afford the big brands and appliances. I’m trying to make sure that T4tec is a brand you can go into an appliance store in the UAE and all over the world to get good quality products for less money.

T4tec will be launching soon with the date yet to be announced. To stay updated on all of the latest news and interviews, subscribe to our newsletter below.