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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Despite adieu to international cricket, Sunil Narine still in Windies World Cup plans

The command and authority with which Narine batted en route to his maiden IPL and T20 century — slamming 109 off 56 balls — for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden on Tuesday, the Windies seem to be quite serious about convincing the 35-year-old to come out of retirement

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 18.04.24, 08:09 AM
Sunil Narine jumps in celebration after his century on Tuesday.

Sunil Narine jumps in celebration after his century on Tuesday. Picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

Sunil Narine had last donned the West Indies colours back in August 2019 in a T20I, which was against India. Apart from that, last November, he bid adieu to international cricket in order to focus on franchise (T20) leagues around the world.

Yet, the off-spinner continues to remain in the Windies’ scheme of things for the T20 World Cup, which they will be hosting in June along with the United States.

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The command and authority with which Narine batted en route to his maiden IPL and T20 century — slamming 109 off 56 balls — for the Kolkata Knight Riders against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden on Tuesday, the Windies seem to be quite serious about convincing the 35-year-old to come out of retirement and be a part of their T20 World Cup squad.

That’s what their T20I captain Rovman Powell’s words suggested, although Narine has “blocked out everyone” who tried to talk to him about it so far.

“For the last 12 months, I’ve been whispering in his (Narine’s) ears, (but) he has blocked out everyone...

“Asked (Kieron) Pollard, (Dwayne) Bravo, (Nicolas) Pooran...

“Hopefully, before they select the team, they can crack his code,” Powell, who represents the Royals, said at the post-match news conference following the visitors’ two-wicket win over the Knights.

“It was a very good innings to watch.

“Sunil has done extremely well for KKR this season at the top.

“He’s my fellow West Indian and hopefully, he can continue doing well.

“As a West Indian, it’s always nice to see your compatriots doing well in the IPL,” Powell was effusive in his praise for Narine.

Alongside being prudent with his shot selection despite being given the license to throw his bat around in the Powerplay overs by the KKR team management, Narine seems to have rediscovered a fair amount of his rhythm with the ball as well.

At the Eden, it has been extremely difficult to put him away so far this season even if he hasn’t taken heaps of wickets.

On Tuesday night as well, it was only Powell who could hit Narine for a four and two sixes in his fourth and last over.

That did hurt the Knights eventually, though on his part, Narine too had bounced back to trap Powell lbw, extracting a bit of turn even after dew had made the task tougher for the bowlers.

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