Andre Russell gets BBL cameo with 'Gades

Andre Russell will return to the Big Bash League after he was scooped up as a temporary replacement for Liam Livingstone by the Melbourne Renegades.

Crowd-pulling West Indies allrounder Russell was one of several big names who went unsold in this year's overseas player draft, prompting BBL bosses to defend the quality of the tournament.

In their place the likes of Pakistan pair Asif Ali and Shadab Khan were selected, as well as lesser-known English players Joe Clarke and Laurie Evans.

Englishman Livingstone went as No.1 pick to the Renegades, but has been ruled out of the first four games of the BBL through English Test selection.

Russell will now be the overseas star to feature in those first four games, before Livingstone links up with the Renegades squad.

One of the league's most marketable players, Russell played five games for the Melbourne Stars last year and batted at a strike-rate of 156.6.

He also previously played for the Renegades in 2014-15, and still holds the highest strike-rate of any player to have featured in more than 10 matches.

"We are thrilled to have Andre Russell returning to the Renegades this summer," Melbourne Renegades GM, James Rosengarten, said.

"Andre is one of the best T20 players in the world; he's a proven match-winner and exactly the type of player we need.

"He adds to our team in all three facets of the game - his ability to clear the boundary, take wickets and make things happen in the field.

"We had positive discussions with Andre throughout the draft process and were always keen to try to get him back in red."

Russell will feature in the Renegades' opener against Brisbane Heat on December 15, as well as matches against the Sydney Thunder, Hobart Hurricanes and a return bout against the Heat.

He will join Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Akeal Hosein and Ruwantha Kellapotha as the Renegades' big-name international players before he is replaced by Livingstone.

Several other platinum-level names from the BBL draft remain unsigned, with the likes of Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Jason Roy only able to be picked up if gaps emerge in rosters.