Off-spinner Sunil Narine has chosen Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket over West Indies’ Test duties. Narine has opted to remain in India to represent his Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in this Sunday’s IPL final against the Kings X1 Punjab.
This decision will result in him not being considered for next month’s Test series against New Zealand. Narine had been given a June 1 deadline by the West Indies Cricket Board to join a preparatory training camp ahead of the Tests which start on June 8.
Most other West Indians in the IPL have been able to meet that deadline, but with Knight Riders making the final, Narine’s stay in the IPL has been extended. Narine, though, will be considered for selection for the Twenty20s against New Zealand in July.
Narine had been in discussion with the WICB and was required to advise the board by May 24 whether he would join the squad on June 1. Narine had indicated by the May 24 deadline that he would join the squad on June 1 as required. However, he subsequently advised the WICB that he would not be able to meet the June 1 requirement Richard Pybus, the WICB director of cricket, had said the new “West Indies First” policy required players to make themselves available for team’s preparatory camps.
“The onus of the WICB is to protect the integrity of international cricket at all times. International cricket, and specifically Test cricket, is priority and requires dedicated preparation which is integral to team success,” he said.
“The WICB policy requires players to commit to sufficient preparation leading in to a series as part of a culture of excellence.”
Narine has earned over US$2 million with the IPL franchise since he was contracted in 2012. Without Narine, West Indies would be short of a key bowler who has made his reputation principally in the shorter versions of the game (he is ranked No.3 in ODIs and No.2 in T20 Internationals by the ICC).
Narine’s absence is certain to be good news for the Kiwis. Of his 21 Test wickets to date, 18 have been taken against New Zealand in two matches in the Caribbean in 2012 and one in New Zealand last December. In his absence the spinning duties will likely fall to off-spinner Shane Shillingford and/or the left-arm orthodox bowler Sulieman Benn.
Shillingford has recently returned to first-class cricket following his second suspension for an illegal delivery. Benn played the last of his 17 Tests almost three-and-a-half years ago.
Narine’s franchise had previously been in discussions with the WICB to meet a compromise on the situation but these have come to naught.