WORCESTERSHIRE have acted quickly to replace crocked overseas signing Jacob Oram, who will no longer be joining the County this season.
The 34-year-old New Zealander has been forced to pull out of his New Road contract as he requires surgery on a hernia.
However, the club’s powers-that-be wasted little time in securing an impressive replacement by signing up big-hitting West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell.
The 25-year-old, who has been playing for the Dehli Daredevils in the IPL, will be available for the first nine of Worcestershire’s 10 group games.
Russell, who had a stint with Barnards Greeen in the Worcestershire League in 2010, said: “Having previously experienced some time at Worcestershire practicing with the squad, I am very much looking forward to playing in their t20 competition.
“I have always wanted to play county cricket and I am excited about being involved in such a professional and friendly environment.”
While New Road director of cricket Steve Rhodes was disappointed by the loss of someone as experienced as Oram, he is delighted by the ‘wow factor’ of his replacement.
He said: “Losing Jacob to an injury is naturally a blow, but this has been softened by the signing of Andre Russell, who is a high class West Indian international all-rounder.
“He has ability with the bat, ball and in the field and, if he connects with the middle of his bat, there are few grounds big enough! He will add firepower and excitement to our Friends Life t20 campaign.”
Having featured in 57 t20 matches, with a strike-rate of 148.87, the right-handed Russell is certain to entertain the New Road crowd in this high-octane format.
In January, Russell’s 4-22 landed him man-of-the-match when his native Jamaica beat Guyana by five wickets in the Caribbean t20.
Oram added: “I’m extremely disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to represent Worcestershire in this year’s Friends Life t20 competition. I have never played county cricket before, so I was really looking forward to the experience.
“Hopefully, I can fulfil my county cricket playing ambition next season, but for this season I wish Steve and Worcestershire all the best.”