Andre Russell's final plea to Sunil Narine: "Windies will be happy if you play T20 World Cup"

By Sports Desk May 23, 2024

In a heartfelt appeal, West Indies' star all-rounder Andre Russell has revealed that he made one last attempt to convince his Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) teammate and fellow West Indian, Sunil Narine, to reconsider his decision to sit out of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Despite Narine's scintillating form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, the enigmatic spinner has steadfastly opted out of the prestigious tournament, which is set to bowl off in the Caribbean and the USA on June 1.

Narine, who retired from international cricket in 2023, has been instrumental for KKR this season, excelling with both bat and ball. However, his last appearance for the West Indies was back in 2019, and his return to the international fold seems increasingly unlikely. This hasn't stopped Russell and others from trying to sway his decision.

Speaking to Star Sports, Russell expressed his admiration for Narine's performance and his desire to see him don the West Indies jersey one more time. "I am so happy for Sunil, to be honest," Russell said. "I think when GG (Gautam Gambhir) came back, he said that we needed him (Narine) to open the batting. Batting him at No. 9 or No. 10, we really had no use of him in the backend. Given the opportunity, he has taken it and he is doing a good job for us. Getting close to 500 runs and picking up 16 wickets is no joke. It just goes to show his true all-round capabilities. I am very, very happy for him."

Russell highlighted the impact Gambhir's strategic decisions had on Narine's performance. "GG giving him an opportunity as well, that’s a good decision for the team," he added.

When asked if Narine should play in the T20 World Cup as West Indies co-hosts the event, Russell was unequivocal. "I definitely think so," he said. "I was trying to get in his head before the squad was announced. For like two weeks straight, me and Rutherford kept talking to him and told him, ‘Hey, please, just for this World Cup, then you can retire, do whatever you want to do’. I think he has made a decision and I respect his decision as well."

Despite Narine's firm stance on his retirement, Russell's final plea underscores the respect and admiration his teammates have for him. "If he could change his decision, the whole West Indies will be happy," Russell concluded.

Earlier, West Indies captain and Rajasthan Royals batter Rovman Powell also attempted to persuade Narine to play in the World Cup, but his efforts were in vain. As the West Indies prepare to co-host the T20 World Cup, the absence of a player of Narine's calibre will undoubtedly be felt, but his legacy and contributions to the team remain indelible.

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