Speaking for the first time after being alleged of violating “anti-doping whereabouts”, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has admitted that the allegations and the possibility of a two-year ban hanging on his head have been ‘stressing’ and ‘depressing’.

Earlier, the Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO) claimed that the  allrounder had missed three dope tests in a 12-month period, resulting in a violation of the whereabouts clause. Though Russell didn’t fail any drug test or miss out on any mandatory tests that the players are required to undertake from time to time, he failed to update the locations he was present at when not playing as it is  mandatory under the provisions of the Anti-Doping Code. If found guilty he can be banned for two years.

A statement on the World Anti-Doping Agency website reads: “Any combination of three missed tests and/or failures to provide accurate whereabouts information within an 18-month period now leads to the opening of a disciplinary proceeding by the (national anti-doping organisation) with jurisdiction over the athlete. Sanctions range between one and two years depending on the circumstances of the case.”

“It’s not easy, honestly, it’s tough,” Russell was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on Monday (July 25). “When I cross the rope, I definitely block it off my head but then when you go back to your room and you know you have to face reality and know that something is going on like that, it’s kind of stressing and depressing.

“But I have an amazing bunch of guys around me. So they keep me occupied, they keep me laughing. I just think that is a very good thing to do while going through something like that. Everything is in place. My lawyers are doing whatever they have to do so I don’t really want to have to talk about it that much,” he added.

The allrounder refused to comment on the hearing of the independent panel that was held last week. Russell said that for the time being his sole focus is to help his team Jamaica Tallawahs win the Caribbean Premier League. Tallawahs, who will play two more league games, can claim the top position in the table by winning one of the remaining games.

“This is what we live for, to be on top of the table,” Russell said. “We still have a few games to go. We’re still not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to try and play our best cricket so we can be in form going into the crucial games.”

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