Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar believes having Sunil Narine batting in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order is a complete waste of time as the team needs quality batsmen in their line-up to be able to reverse their fortunes in the IPL this season.

KKR are currently eighth in the IPL standings after just two wins from their seven matches to date, a position that Gavaskar believes comes down to one thing.

"To be honest, they don’t have too many classy batsmen. I don’t know how many in the dugout they can look to and say, ‘Look… why don’t you come in and bat up the order.’ Because if you have a look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class," Gavaskar said on Cricket Connected.

"There is Andre Russell down at five or six and Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar continued.

“I would look at promoting Karthik up the order, because for simple reasons. There is Rahul Tripathi up. Sunil Narine at 4 or 5 whatever is a waste of space. It doesn’t make any sense having him there. If you want to have Sunil Narine, have him at the top of the order where he can throw his bat around, and maybe if he connects a few, that’s fine.

“KKR’s problem is that they haven’t got anybody at three, four, five who can play an impact innings."

 

Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

West Indies chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has revealed that the panel remains in the dark regarding the future of spinner Sunil Narine who remains unavailable for selection.

The 32-year-old Narine is widely regarded as one of the best spinners in the world but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019.  In total, Narine has played 6 Test matches, where he claimed 21 wickets, 65 One Day Internationals, where he has claimed 92 wickets, and 51 T20 Internationals where he has taken 52.

The player has, however, throughout his career been plagued by questions surrounding his bowling action.  In 2015, Narine was suspended from bowling in international cricket, after his action was deemed to be illegal.  He was reported during the ODI series against Sri Lanka.  He was cleared a year later after doing remedial work on his action.  Narine was reported again during the 2018 Pakistan Super League but was cleared soon after.  Again, in October 2020, the spinner was reported by on-field umpires for his bowling action in the 2020 Indian Premier League, which was cleared by IPL Suspect Bowling Action Committee in September.

According to Harper, at this point, the bowler does not seem comfortable enough with his technique to return to international cricket.

“Sunil Narine has indicated to us that he is not yet ready for the international scene,”
 Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He was still in the process of fine-tuning his action.  He had some issues with that so he is in the process of fine-tuning it,” he added.

“So, when he makes himself available and thinks that he is ready for international cricket, we will then have to make a determination at that point.”

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force maintained their unbeaten run in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup with a nine-wicket win over Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Coolidge Cricket Ground on Wednesday night.

The Red Force bowled out the home side for 129 and then motored to 130-1 off 24.5 overs. It was their fourth win and earned them a spot in the semi-finals.

Sunil Narine, playing his 100th List A match, was brilliant as he took 3-36 from his 10 overs. One of his wickets came from a perfectly flighted off-break which turned a long way and rattled the stumps of Terrence Warde.

However, fast bowler Ravi Rampaul was named the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match for his excellent new-ball spell and took 3-17 from seven overs.

The top score for the Hurricanes came from opener Kieran Powell (29), while Hayden WalshJjr chipped in with 26.

The Red Force them reached the target with little bother as Kjorn Ottley and Jason Mohammed shared an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 93. Ottley made 47 not out with six fours and a six over cover, while Mohammed remained unbeaten on 40 off 55 balls with four boundaries.

 Evin Lewis gave the innings a flying start as he smashed two sixes and three fours in 28 off 27 balls, but fell, caught at point off pacer Quinton Boatswain.

Rampaul was quite pleased with his contribution and the outcome.

“I am very happy with the performance of all our bowlers throughout this tournament. I’ve been putting some hard work in the conditions and I reaped the rewards today (Wednesday),” he said at the conclusion of the match.

“It feels great to get the Man-of-the-Match.  It’s always a pleasure to play for my country and I’m really enjoying it. I grew up playing with a lot of my team-mates and it’s been good fun. We believe we can win and we want to win."

Thursday: Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Barbados Pride at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. First ball is 9 am (8 am Jamaica Time).

 

 

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

West Indies spinner, Sunil Narine, believes that cricket’s T10 format could be the best choice for inclusion at the Olympic Games as it is even more exciting than the T20 version.

Cricket has not been played at the Olympic Games since 1900, where Britain and France were the only two teams that participated.  There have, however, been numerous discussions geared towards reviving the sport at the Games in recent years, with T20 cricket identified as the best format.  Narine, however, believes that T10 could also be a consideration.

“The T10 format is more exciting than the T20 format. In T20s, the batters take a few overs before starting their attacking skills, however, in T10 the batters probably look for only one or two balls,” Narine told the Daily Times.

“There’s always a possibility to attract new fans through a shorter format of cricket and more exciting cricket. It will be an exciting thing if cricket is included in the Olympics as well and hopefully, maybe T10 could be a part of the Olympics,” he added.

The 10 over-format of the sport was introduced in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, it is, however, yet to be widely adopted.

Narine will be among a number of West Indies players taking part in this season’s edition.  The spinner will represent the Deccan Gladiators, alongside West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard.

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

Chris Gayle said it was nice to be able to win the battle between himself and mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the Kings XI Punjab’s emphatic victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on Monday.

Man-of-the-Match Gayle, 41, scored a 29-ball 51 in a second-wicket stand of 100 from just 60 balls with Mandeep Singh, who top scored with an unbeaten 66 as KXIP ran out eight-wicket victors.

Gayle took 17 runs off Narine’s bowling ithat included two of his five sixes that were creamed over wide long off the Trinidadian in the 11th and 13th over, respectively. The Universe Boss just failed to remain unbeaten getting out from a slower ball from Lockie Ferguson in the 19th over with KXIP just three runs short of their target.

Narine, meanwhile, went wicketless while conceding 27 from his four overs.

Gayle said it was great to get one up against one of the best T20 bowlers in the world.

“Sunil has got me out so many times. He is the best spinner in the world. So when you get a wicket like this, when it is not turning much, you got to cash in,” Gayle said even as he praised the match-winning knock from Mandeep, who is mourning the loss of his father.

“Mandeep is going through a lot. Last game we said we want to win it for him. So beautiful to watch him in the middle pointing out to his father watching from above. And dad, my dad, I love you. Today, the coach asked the senior players, we need to step up in crucial games, I am glad we were able to put my hand up. And the youngsters in the team are telling me, 'Don't retire.'"

Gayle’s form has been on the upswing since he made his season debut for KXIP after missing out on playing during the first half of the season, partly due to a case of food poisoning that resulted in him being briefly hospitalized.

"Been training off the field when not playing. Doing my runs. Gym. Feeling good,” said Gayle, who is also optimistic about his team finishing the season well after their fifth win on the trot.

“Have a good feeling about myself and the team. Just capitalizing on it, but still a long way to go."

 

Varun Chakravarthy claimed the best bowling figures seen in the 2020 Indian Premier League so far as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Delhi Capitals by 59 runs on Saturday. 

The Capitals would have returned to the top of the table with a win at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, but KKR consigned them to back-to-back defeats to give their own play-off hopes a major boost. 

Nitish Rana (81 off 53 balls) and Sunil Narine (64 from 32) put on 115 to get Eoin Morgan's side up to an imposing 194-6. 

South Africa pacemen Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada - the leading wicket-taker in the tournament - took two wickets apiece, but Rana and Narine shifted the momentum after Kolkata had slipped to 42-3. 

The brilliant Pat Cummins (3-17) put the Knight Riders in control when he got rid of openers Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan cheaply. 

Chakravarthy then demolished the middle order with a magnificent exhibition of spin bowling, taking 5-20 from his four overs as the Capitals could only make 135-9 in their reply. 

Captain Shreyas Iyer (47) gave Delhi hope, but they lost seven wickets for 59 runs as Chakravarthy claimed the first five-wicket haul of this year's IPL. 

 

RANA AND NARINE TO THE RESCUE

Nortje (2-27) removed Shubman Gill in his first over and struck again in his second, giving Rahul Tripathi no chance to keep out a searing yorker. 

Rabada (2-33) got in on the act by dismissing Dinesh Karthik, but a century stand between Rana and Narine got KKR up to a challenging total. 

Narine smashed four sixes as Ravichandran Ashwin went for 45 off his three overs, while Rana struck 13 fours and a six in a 10th IPL half-century he dedicated to his late father-in-law, who passed away earlier this week.

CHAK ATTACK AFTER CUMMINS GETS KKR GOING

Cummins set the tone by getting a sharp first delivery to nip back and hit Rahane bang in front, then followed that up by removing Dhawan's off stump in his second over.

Iyer and Rishabh Pant put on 63 for the third wicket, but they were unable to score at the required rate as the Knight Riders' attack bowled with impressive discipline. 

The craft and composure of Chakravarthy then ended any hope of Delhi rising back to the summit, as he dismissed Shimron Hetmyer and Iyer in the 14th over after Pant had already holed out.

Sunil Narine has been cleared of having a suspect bowling action and has been taken off the warning list, the IPL said Sunday.

The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) have vowed to support Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and West Indies spinner Sunil Narine after he was reported for a suspect bowling action in the IPL last week.

The 32-year-old mystery spinner was reported during the team’s win over Kings XI Punjab last week.  Although the player remains free to bowl, until a second report is made, he was not selected by the KKR for their clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday.

It was not the first occasion that the spinner action has been placed under the microscope.  He was suspended in 2014 after being called in successive matches during the Champions League Twenty20.  The player missed out on the World Cup the following year, while he worked on his remodeled action.

It is reported that his bowling coach Carl Crowe is with him at the tournament and will help the player work through any issues.  Dr Nigel Camacho, acting president of Narine’s parent club Queen’s Park, believes the issue can be sorted with minimal fuss.

“As his parent club, we’ll continue to support him,” said Camacho. “We have brought in the Australian (Crowe). He has a great relationship with his coach at Queen’s Park, David Furlonge. Whatever Sunil needs at Queen’s Park, we are very willing to give him support.

“If they suspect that there is something amiss with his action, we’ll support Sunil 100 percent and we’ll make sure he can perform to the best of his ability,” he added.

“He had this before and he came back almost as strong or stronger than before. Narine is just a fantastic bowler. Even if he is to make a change to his action, I am confident he will be back stronger than before.”

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen believes the Kolkata Knight Riders could well afford to do without Sunil Narine, should he be suspended, as the spinner does not have the same impact as in years gone by.

The 32-years-old West Indies bowler does indeed face the threat of suspension after being reported for a suspect action during KKR’s victory over Kings XI Punjab last week.  The spinner is allowed to continue bowling, for now, but another report to the Indian Premier League (IPL) would see Narine suspended until cleared by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee.

Narine had performed heroics for KKR after defending 14 runs off the final over, to help his team register a stunning 2 runs victory over KXIP.  Despite that, however, Pietersen insists the bowler has not quite been at the same level since his last suspension.  Narine was previously suspended in 2015 when he was ranked No. 2 on the ODI and T20 rankings.  His action was reported as suspect in successive matches during the Champions League Twenty20.  It resulted in his missing out on playing in the final for Kolkata Knight Riders, who lost to Chennai Super Kings.

“If I am honest, I am not so sure it (Sunil Narine absence) is a massive loss. Andre Russell is the guy you spend time talking about in team meetings. When he bowls, you are thinking about it. When he bats, you are thinking about it. It is the same when he is fielding,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

“Sunil Narine has not been the same bowler for a few years now. He hasn’t had his best; he hasn’t had his real big spin. Coming to Sharjah, it is not something you are really worried about Sunil Narine. And then the bowlers have found him out in his batting. You bowl him short, he doesn’t like it,” Pietersen added.

All-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell bounced back with the ball to spearhead Kolkata Knight Riders' 10-run win over Chennai Super Kings in a low-scoring Indian Premier League encounter.

Narine, who has struggled with the bat throughout this IPL, and fellow West Indian Russell were two of those who failed to deliver as Kolkata were bowled out in 20 overs for 167, a total that owed much to Rahul Tripathi's 81 as he repaid the decision to promote him to open.

Chennai were confident of chasing their modest target when Shane Watson (50) and Ambati Rayudu (30) made 69 for the second wicket.

However, some brilliant death bowling from Narine (1-31) and Russell (1-18) meant the Super Kings came up short with 157-5.

Kolkata were indebted to Tripathi's 51-ball knock, which included eight fours and three sixes, as their star-studded middle order for once failed to show up.

Narine, who had been opening, was dropped down to four but could only make 17, while Eoin Morgan (7) and Russell (2) had rare off-days as Dwayne Bravo (3-37) led the Super Kings' fine bowling display.

There was then a boundary in each of Chennai's first 10 overs and they were coasting when requiring 69 off the final 48 balls with nine wickets in hand.

Yet Narine - who bowled overs 12, 14, 16 and 19 - applied the handbrake, along with Russell, whose two-over figures would have look much better had Ravindra Jadeja not struck the final three balls of the innings for an ultimately frivolous 14.

 

BATTING SHAKE-UP PAYS OFF FOR KNIGHT RIDERS

Kolkata's problems in the early stages of the tournament were due to a lack of big scores, with top scorer Shubman Gill down in 13th in the IPL for runs.

However, Tripathi hit their highest individual score in their five games so far, and boy was it needed given the rest of the order's struggles.

 

BOUNDARY DROUGHT COSTS SUPER KINGS

At 90-1 at the halfway point, Chennai were cruising and required only 78 from 60.

However, they failed to find or clear the ropes across the next 33 deliveries and were then left needing 55 off 27. It was that barren patch in the middle of their reply that ultimately proved their undoing.

Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer led the way as Delhi Capitals moved to the top of the Indian Premier League table with an 18-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders. 

The Capitals posted 228-4 - the highest total of this year's IPL - as Shaw (66) and Ayer (88 not out) shone at the top of the order before Rishabh Pant chipped in with a 17-ball 38. 

Kolkata would surpass 200 too as both teams reached that landmark total for a third successive game in Sharjah, Eoin Morgan (44) and Rahul Tripathi (36) smashing 47 runs from the 17th and 18th overs. 

However, the Knight Riders would come up short in making 210-8 as Anrich Nortje (3-33) helped the Capitals make it three wins from four.

Delhi had three half-century partnerships at the start of their innings and Iyer, who crashed six maximums and seven fours, and Pant did most of the damage as the Capitals accumulated 77 runs in the final five overs. 

The Knight Riders were well short at the halfway point of their reply at 94-3 and they lost Nitish Rana (58) and captain Dinesh Karthik in back-to-back balls to Harshal Patel in the 13th over. 

A rapid 44 off 18 deliveries from England's limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan raised their hopes, but he fell in the penultimate over to Nortje, who gave up just five runs across those six balls, leaving Kolkata with too much to do.

 

LEAN RETURNS FOR NARINE 

Kolkata have won two of their opening four games, but no one has struggled for them more than opener Sunil Narine. Bowled by Nortje for three here, meaning he has made just a combined 27 runs in four innings at the tournament. 

"We will discuss Narine's role with the coaches, but I have got full confidence in Narine," Karthik said afterwards. 

NORTJE COMES TO RABADA'S RESCUE 

Kagiso Rabada is the joint-leading wicket-taker in this edition of the IPL with eight victims, but he had a hard time against Morgan, who smashed the South African paceman for three successive sixes at the start of the 18th over, a pair of short balls and an attempted yorker getting the treatment. 

Fortunately for Rabada, compatriot Nortje removed Morgan in the next over to kill off the Knight Riders' hopes. 

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