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Thunder coach backs Russell in BBL

AAP logoAAP 3/01/2017 Adrian Warren

Sydney Thunder coach Paddy Upton says it was inevitable dynamic T20 allrounder Andre Russell would suffer from a form slump but has backed him to rebound for the defending BBL champion's must-win second half of the tournament.

Thunder are bottom of the ladder with a 0-4 record.

Upton said they must win all four of their remaining games, starting with Wednesday's home clash with Melbourne Stars at Spotless Stadium, to have "half a chance" of making the finals.

The biggest issue for Thunder has been the lack of runs from their main batters.

Captain Shane Watson has scored just three in his two innings since returning from injury, England T20 captain Eoin Morgan has averaged only 22 and mooted Test contender Kurtis Patterson 13.

But the biggest worry of all has been the lack of form of renowned big-hitting West Indian Russell, who is averaging just six and hasn't reached double figures in any of his four innings.

Russell has attracted more headlines for his unusually coloured bat than his batting, so far, and appears to have been worked out by bowlers who are bemusing him with slower bounces.

"He's done exceptionally well both with bat and ball for an exceptionally long period of time and, I guess with these kind of things, it was a matter of time before he had a couple of games slump and unfortunately it's been around now," Upton said.

"He's not concerned. I'm not concerned about it at all.

"He really has been trying hard to score runs, maybe a little bit too hard, and maybe expecting himself to carry out that run.

"It was inevitable that he would have a few games without scoring and it's inevitable that he will come back and start producing with bat and ball."

The Stars will also be looking to generate some momentum having played just two games - less than any other team in the tournament.

"I guess we have a slight advantage in that we understand the conditions at Spotless. They've only played here once in the last two years, so we probably have a slight upper hand there," Upton said.

"We have played a couple more games but, in terms of the energy and momentum, it's not with us at the moment because of our loss streak."

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