Sunil Narine’s Career Still Pretty Much An Unsolvable Mystery For The West Indies!
It was back in the year 2017 when the cricketing action in the Caribbean was set around Afghanistan’s first ever tour to the Brian Lara and Sir Viv land. They had never previously been to the Caribbean.
And true to the most exciting format of the game, one in which Afghanistan have produced many a matchwinner, such as Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, it was to be a white-ball series.
Gayle hadn’t yet receded into the sidelines back then. Andre Russell was very much a West Indian player. And an in-form Marlon Samuels was turning it on for his side. But the star of the very first match between the Windies and the visiting Afghans was a player who you today most recollect for wearing Kolkata Knight Riders’ purple jersey.
His elders named him after the great Sir Sunny Gavaskar. His career’s most striking ability was and still is the ability to spin the ball both ways whilst still retaining a sense of mystery to it.
Sunil Narine would capture a vital 3-for in the first T20I held at St. Kitts and Nevis and in so doing, would put a sudden halt to what had insofar been a ten match consecutive winning streak for the Afghanistan national side.
Of his allotted four overs, Sunil Narine put everything he had within to come up top with a 3 for 11. Mind it, this was a 20-20 fixture.
In a cricketing world where just about everyone craves for tight lines and great discipline, Narine had struck pure gold.
But that’s just one of the most striking performances by the famous Trinidadian. He’d also play in the T20 World cup that would take place the very next year in Sri Lanka. In the end, the West Indies would crown themselves world champions having played like one.
Narine’s contribution was important. He was there. He was still unplayable.
But the last that the off spinner would represent his national side, the West Indies, would come in 2019. And while he’s very much around in the game, it’s not highly likely that Sunil Narine is going to feature for that team for which he once formed an unmissable part.
What’s exciting to a good measure is that Sunil Narine is still going strong in the T20 cricket, albeit for franchises around the world.
He’s played in Bangladesh. He’s been popular in India and to the KKR, he’s no less than a T20 god; a mystery unsolvable by batsmen in all these years.
But back home Desmond Haynes, the chief selector admits that despite being available for consideration for much of the wider world with his newly remodeled action, Narine’s never contacted him for the big series meant for 2023.
After all, there’s the ICC Men’s ODI World cup due to take place later in India
But is that even the priority for one of the world’s most successful spinners going around?
That Narine surely creates excitement with the white ball is beyond doubt. A couple of evenings ago, he had the RCB in a spin of bother; clean bowling none other than the master Virat Kohli was the clear highlight of the day.
The ball spun much more than what the dogged right hander would’ve come to expect; Sunil Narine became a product beyond the scope of understanding of frazzled batters.
But isn’t that kind of performance also so very handy for his West Indies? Does the Shai Hope-led ODI team not need a spinner like Narine, who has already collected 158 international wickets in fifty over cricket?
Surely, the present side is fortunate enough to have the committed services of an Akeal Hosein. Now just imagine the two attacking in tandem with the experienced Narine spinning a web of deceit only to further help Hosein draw more vulnerable batters into it.
Alas, such a luxury, it seems, is beyond the grasp of the West Indies for as long as leagues like the cash rich IPL continue to trap mega talents like Narine.
The following is what Haynes had to say in the matter pertaining to Narine, who at 34, is far from being over:
I did not get any notice from [Sunil] Narine regarding his availability to play,” Haynes had told reporters in a presser last year. “There were conversations that the [then] captain [Nicholas Pooran] was having with Narine, and from all reports, it seemed that he was not interested. Yes, again, the captain told me he’s reached out to Narine, but I’m not too sure he wants to play.”
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