West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine got the full backing of his Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir who termed him as an asset and said there can be no back-up for the mystery bowler.
Narine got a clean chit for his suspect action two days before the start of IPL-8 Twenty20 cricket tournament from the bowling review committee of the BCCI. “He’s an integral part of KKR, he will always be an integral part… Even if he bowls a straight ball, he will be an asset for us and will always remain an asset. That’s the confidence we have on Sunil (Narine). We never thought that we needed a back-up spinner for him,” Gambhir said when asked whether they strengthened their spin line-up in the auction with suspense prevailing over the Trinidad offspinner.
“There can never be a backup for Sunil. I always maintain even if he bowls a straight bowl it will be an advantage. That’s the aura he has had on the opposition over the last three years.” Narine was reported for suspect action in last season’s CLT20 and went on to miss the recently concluded World Cup.
Narine went back to the nets to rework on his action and was cleared by the ICC after his bio-mechanical test in Loughborough but BCCI took a retest at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai before giving a green signal two days ago.
Gambhir said they were always confident to get Narine back, especially after remodelling his action. “He was pretty confident as well. I’m happy for him. Hats off to him that he’s changed his action in such a short span of time. I’m very happy for him, having known the success he has achieved for KKR,” he said.
Gambhir sounded confident that Narine would come back strong. “He’s a quality player, a quality individual and a tough guy. All these things will come to his advantage. In such situations, first you need to be tough mentally to absorb whatever has happened and come back strong. He has showed how mentally tough he’s in the past.”
Kolkata had bought KC Cariappa during IPL auction this year and Gambhir said: “The strategy to pick little known players like KC Cariappa and Kuldeep Yadav was to groom them alongside senior pros like Narine, Brad Hogg. “They were never for back-up. Yes, we want different spinners, and we have based out entire team on that because if you see most of the wickets in India turn and start gripping especially in the later half of the tournament. That’s the strategy.”