Less than 24 hours after the England party had arrived in Antigua for the first leg of their tour of the West Indies, the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper jumped in to bat first in net practice at the St John's Test ground.
Following a comfortable session against the spinners, Graeme Hick and Ian Salisbury, Russell faced the fast bowling of Angus Fraser. A short ball left him in two minds as to whether to hook or duck. He did neither, and took a blow on the shoulder.
'It's sore but I'll have to get used to that sort of thing again,' Russell said afterwards. It was the sort of treatment that the West Indies
captain, Richie Richardson, promised would be meted out to his England counterpart, Michael Atherton.
'We will try to ruffle Atherton, try to demoralise him,' Richardson said. 'If you get to the captain it gets to the rest of the team.'
There was some encouraging news when Alan Igglesden came through his first serious bowl for a month. The Kent pace bowler, who strained a muscle in his side during England's week of preparations in Portugal, worked up to top speed without any problems.
Apart from Russell's brush with the bouncer, the only thing that disturbed England's preparations was the length of time it took the ground staff to assemble the nets. After they had been working for nearly two hours, Devon Malcolm stepped up to help.
The Derbyshire fast bowler also volunteered as barber when Chris Lewis decided that a temperature of 85C warranted a haircut. Malcolm took his job seriously, and Lewis emerged with a shaved scalp.
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