In the eliminator match of the IPL 2021, Sunil Narine produced one of the best individual performances in the IPL’s history and helped Kolkata Knight Riders secured its place in the 2nd qualifier. But West Indies will resist the urge to parachute him into their squad for the forthcoming Men’s T20 World Cup before the ICC’s deadline on Friday.
In Sharjah, Narine took 4 for 21, including the wicket of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, and Glenn Maxwell, to restrict their opponent Royal Challengers Bangalore to 138 for 7, before hitting the first three legal balls he saw for six as a pinch-hitter at No. 5 to ensure KKR progress to the 2nd qualifier against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday. Since the IPL 2021 resumed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he took 11 wickets in 8 games, conceding 6.12 runs per over.
Narine, on the other hand, has not played international cricket since August 2019 due to several factors, and he was left out of the West Indies’ T20 World Cup squad when it was released last month after being unsuccessful in fulfilling the board’s minimal fitness requirements.
At the time, lead selector Roger Harper commented that Sunil Narine is a huge miss for a team like West Indies in a competition like World Cup. Any team would miss having a bowler of that quality on their squad, but unfortunately, he did not meet the fitness standards.
Kieron Pollard, the West Indies captain and a personal friend of Narine’s, refused to be pushed further on Narine’s exclusion when speaking from the team’s base in Dubai. Pollard clarified by saying if he contributes his opinions on how Narine’s exclusion happened, it might be spun in all different directions, much as Narine’s bowling on those Sharjah wickets. The captain added that focus on the current 15-man squad is more important, and see if they can rally around and defend their title.
Pollard also mentioned that Narine was first a dear friend to him before he became an international cricketer. They grew up playing cricket together. In his opinion, Narine is an excellent international cricketer that he has no further comment concerning his non-inclusion.
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