Email to Andre Russell: hot but hush

Mon, Mar 13, '17



To: Andre Russell, cricketer

From: WADAH, ur bff

Subject: Tea  & Other Enhancers

Hi Andre

It's me, WADAH, ur bff, up here in  cold Canada. Heard u had a little problem in Jamdown with my boys. One year suspension for "whereabouts" violation. Hot but hush. "Rules are rules", as 'The Big Man' Bolt says.

Try to understand, Andre. We have been suspicious about all you cricketers for a long, long time. Imagine Bradman averaging almost a perfect 100 runs an innings. Laker taking19 wickets in one Test. Lara scoring 501 and 400 in  a county and Test innings. Always wondered how u all multitask so well. In the time it takes Bolt to make two strides from the blocks ur batsmen can pick up the line of the ball, judge bounce,pace and swing, move feet into position, pick out gaps in the field. Strange. U all must be on "something" . Wadah just can't figure out what. Not so far, anyway.

That's why Our Man In Jamaica,  the supersleuth/analyst/spokesman/tester with nothing better to do than knocking on cricketers' doors at the crack of dawn to test urine, wanted to check u. To catch u "in the act", "redhanded" as the cops say. He wanted to check u  right after u drank that pot of grandma's bush tea ! U know the one. It helped with that smooth run-up, correct planting of front foot, perfect follow through. But honestly, Andre, as we Jammies say, "don't feel no way". If u had drank more of that bush tea---the stronger version too ---with a few more tablespoons of sugar (brown) it would have helped with ur line and length. Imagine, u might have been right up there with Mikey and Courtney in the Test averages instead of just being a standout in the Slam-Bam-Thank-You...version.

Trust me, I can relate to that. Back in the day, my dad was a medium pace/legspin/straight ball trundler for Lucas club. Couldn't buy a wicket before tea. Plenty long hops, full tosses. But after tea !!! A demon, deadly accurate,massive swerve, stumps flying left, right and centre ! Fortunately, the only person named Wright who could have tested him for any imagined "wrongs" was the matronly Vera ("Aunty V") Wright, the club's legendary tea brewer. Opponents  still swear she had a "heavy hand" in Lucas' six Senior Cup titles in eight years (1938-46), although they grudgingly concede that West Indies stars like George Headley, Leslie Hylton, Ken "Bam Bam Weekes and the J.K. Holts (Snr and Jr) might have helped a  bit.

But as grandma always say, Andre, "look on the bright side". Behind every dark cloud, son, there's a silver lining. U probably wouldn't be up there with Mikey and Courtney anyhow, but look who u r in the same company with. Shane Warne, regarded by some as the greatest leggie ever ! We caught him . For years we wondered how he could turn his leggies so sharply. Like the one that bowled Gatting around his legs.And all that, after virtually walking up  just four or five paces to the stumps. Very, very suspicious. So when he took a diuretic ("washout" grandma called it ) that his mom had been giving him since he was a boy, we got him. Suspended.Just like u. He must have been hiding  something, and not just up his sleeve either. Unfortunately, we never found out if there were any banned substances in his favourite food---baked bans---that fuelled his success. Ah well, guess not even Wadah can win them all.

U too have aroused suspicion. How come no other West Indians can dash around the boundary line with such athleticism, like  Nesta Carter, diving to save boundaries like Alia Atkinson leaving her blocks in the breast stroke. Hmmmmm...I wonder. Mark u, I'm not accusing us. Just hope u not into that stimulant stuff. Like the one Asafa took that made him finish seventh in the 2012 Olympic trials. And how come u r so calm at the crease ? Just hope it's not that  painkiller the dentist gave ShellyAnn after he yanked her tooth. Besides getting u suspended, that stuff can depress u, even more than a JADCO verdict. U could even be caught napping at the crease.

But while u chill for a year , take my advice. Don't put too much hope on the appeal. Wadah hardly ever makes mistakes. When we make errors, unlike drug cheaters, we confess. Wadah is the most upfront, transparent, competent body in Sportsdom. In 2014 we made 2,269 "alterations to our operating code" That's 2,269 errors and we 'fessed up to every last one ! Just imagine. If ur favourite supermarket withdrew 2,269 food items from the shelves u think they would advertise it, Andre ?. No way. That's why Wadah has  such  loyal, true believers among the entire Jamaican track and field community and well beyond ( even among cricketers). But our truest believers are Trinis. They just "won" the Beijing Olympics sprint relay gold medal although finishing so far back Usain and the boys were halfway through their post-race interviews when the Trinis made the last handover.

But here's the  scoop, Andre.Watch what u eat. Stay away from yam. Especially Trelawny yam. There's that  "guilt-by-association" offence ( s. 43.5). Remember Trelawny is where Ben Johnson was from. Poor Ben. They "tested" him and found he had the fastest reaction to a gun of any sprinter in history. If only he had hired a top Caribbean Q.C. he might have got off.The argument could have been submitted,----" with great respect Mi Lud"------that it was just a Jamaican kid's reaction to gunshots rather than anabolic steroids that made him run so fast.

So copy The Big Man. Stick to chicken nuggets and salt pork. Can't argue with all those Olympics gold medals and two world records. And don't bother with the jerk" thing. Our defrocked Canadian high priest, Dick Pound, has had our Wadah boys testing that "jerk" sauce from way back when. Haven't found any banned substances in it. Not yet.

Besides, Andre, u don't want to be jumping from the WADA/JADCO's frying pan into the ICC's fire. Too much of that "jerk" and the next thing u know the cricket umpires will be casting a jaundiced eye on your bowling action.

More time, my bredren.

Errol Townshend is a retired sports journalist and cricket administrator. He writes, tongue firmly stuck in cheek, from Toronto.