Former Australian batsman and cricket commentator Dean Jones says he does not believe off-spinner Sunil Narine will ever play for the West Indies again.
Suggesting it didn’t make financial sense if he did, Jones told NDTV Station in India last night that Narine had a $3 million contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and stood to be ineligible to play in the Indian Premier League if he participated in matches under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and was called for throwing. He said the ICC was cracking down on bowlers who delivered the doosra and noted that if Narine bowled it, he “will be banned”.
“If he goes and plays in tournaments under the purview of the ICC, he is opening himself up to be reported by the ICC. If he is reported he faces a one year ban/suspension. The other choice he has is to maintain the status quo of playing in the IPL where his action has been passed by the BCCI. So even though he might be losing around US$70,000 by not playing for West Indies, he still maintains his contract with KKR which is far more lucrative. So I feel he may never play for the West Indies again,” Jones said.
Narine’s bowling action was first reported as suspect in the Champions League Twenty20 in India last October. After that he was under the watchful eye of Kolkata Knight Riders. Narine worked with coaches in his native Trinidad and Tobago as well as Dr Daryl Foster in Perth, Australia. He eventually returned to the West Indies domestic NAGICO Super50 Tournament and helped Trinidad and Tobago win the tourney at home with a devastating six-wicket haul in the final against the Guyana franchise.
The Trinidadian right-hander has not played a single international match since being called for suspected throwing in the Champions League. He withdrew from the West Indies team after being selected on the squad for the recently concluded ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“Whilst I am very happy with the progress made to date with my action, and I express my thanks to the coaches working with me in Trinidad and Dr Daryl Foster in Perth, Australia, I am withdrawing from the World Cup,” Narine said back in January.
Jones, who watched Narine in action against the Mumbai Indians at the start of the 2015 IPL yesterday, said his action appeared much straighter than it was before but added his previous degree of spin was not there. He said it had to be considered that Narine was under a lot of pressure and had to deal with the stigma of a “cheating tag” attached to accusations of throwing. He however noted that he had been reminded by the ICC’s cricket operations general manager, Geoff Allardice, that Narine had thus far not been cited by the ICC for a suspect action.
“He (Narine) will be cold in the mind. He hasn’t played cricket for a long long time and that’s not going to help him,” Jones said, adding that most top spinners like Saeed Ajmal and Sachitra Senanayake who came back with remodelled action, lost their sting.
Former Indian captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar told NDTV that though in the past there might have been a hint of a kink in Narine’s action, none was discernible when he bowled yesterday against the Mumbai Indians. He however conceded that Narine usually bowled with a full sleeve and it was difficult to pick up the flex level in his action.
Gavaskar noted Narine didn’t get much turn at Eden Gardens which he normally did, but added the wicket was a generally good batting wicket and didn’t offer much turn.
“There was very little that I saw that stood our for me. I don’t think his action was any different than earlier on. . .but if it has been passed, then so be it,” Gavaskar said, adding though Narine appeared very laid-back in his first match since being cleared to bowl by the BCCI, he would have been under great pressure.
“When your action has been queried, when your action is now going to be under greater scrutiny, you are going to be under pressure,” Gavaskar said.