Sunil Narine has been barred from bowling for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League T20 final on Saturday after being reported for a second time in two matches for a suspect action. He was reported by the umpires after Thursday’s semi-final against Hobart Hurricanes, which Knight Riders won by seven wickets. He had also been reported following their final group match, against Dolphins, when the umpires questioned his quicker delivery.
ESPNcricinfo understands that this time the umpires, Rod Tucker, S Ravi and Vineet Kulkarni, had noted in their written complaint that several of the 24 deliveries Narine bowled against Hurricanes were suspect. “It was three deliveries in the last match. But this time all his four overs were reported,” an official privy to the complaint said.
No official from Knight Riders’ management responded to queries, so it is not yet known whether the franchise might appeal against the penalty.
According to a Champions League T20 release, the umpires reviewed footage of the semi-final and “felt that there was a flex action in Narine’s elbow beyond the acceptable limit when bowling during the match”. He had already been on the tournament’s warning list and, since he had not subsequently had his action cleared, is now automatically banned from bowling further in the tournament.
Knight Riders will now be “advised” to send Narine to the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai – which has been accredited by the ICC as a testing centre for suspect bowling actions – to have his action tested.
The bowling ban will not affect his West Indies duties, though – it is confined only to the Champions League T20 and other BCCI-organised tournaments, including the IPL.
Darren Sammy, Narine’s West Indies team-mate, came out in support of him on Thursday, prior to him being reported a second time. “I am not worried. Narine is a champion. Whether they stop him from bowling the faster ball, he is still the most dangerous spinner in the world,” Sammy had said. “I believe that he will still be a great asset to us. He will do whatever he has to do and have all his different tricks up his sleeves by the time the World Cup is here. I still feel he will be our a champion spinner.”
Narine is the fourth bowler to be reported in the Champions League – the others are Lahore Lions’ Adnan Rasool and Mohammad Hafeez, and Dolphins’ Prenelan Subrayen. However, he is the first bowler to be reported a second time. This comes at a time when the ICC has been stepping up its action against suspect bowling actions, with several spinners being called and suspended from bowling in international cricket.
It comes as a big blow to Knight Riders, as they look to extend their T20 winning streak to 15 and secure the double of winning the IPL and the Champions League T20 in the same year.