Nagraj Gollapudi (ESPNcricinfo)
The WICB has decided to withdraw offspinner Sunil Narine from the entire India tour. A WICB spokesperson confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Narine was being called back home after the Champions League T20 banned him from bowling having called his action illegal.
The West Indies board later sent a press release stating that Narine had been withdrawn to allow him “the opportunity to have his action assessed and plan his return to cricket”. The decision to stand down Narine leaves West Indies with no specialist spinner for the one-dayers against India. A replacement player is yet to be named.
Clive Lloyd, the West Indies chairman of selectors, was unhappy with the Champions League T20’s procedure for dealing with suspect actions. “I am disappointed that our best bowler could suddenly be out of the tour,” he said. “I am quite disappointed about the procedure that surrounded the ‘calling’ of Sunil in the Champions Trophy tournament. These things have the potential to disrupt the team’s preparation for a critical series against India but we will have to overcome this hurdle.”
From October 8, West Indies will play five ODIs and a T20 against India, before three Tests. Narine’s bowling ban is restricted only to the Champions League and other BCCI-run tournaments like the IPL, but the decision to remove him from the tour means scrutiny on him has now extended into international cricket as well.
Narine’s absence will be more immediately felt by his IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders, who will be without their best bowler in Saturday’s CLT20 final against Chennai Super Kings. The Knight Riders management was surprised with the umpires’ ruling on Narine, particularly the fact that two days after his faster delivery was reported, his action for several deliveries was termed suspect.
However, Venky Mysore, Knight Riders’ CEO, said that the franchise would comply with the measures recommended by BCCI, so that Narine can bowl in BCCI-run tournaments like the IPL. Mysore said he did not want to question the authority of the umpires. “Those are the rules. We accept that. We will be very supportive of everything that Sunil wants to do,” Mysore said. “If WICB reaches out, we are always there to support them. We are going to miss him in the final, but we are there to do everything to support him as we don’t want his career to get affected.
“I have to say the timing is surprising and so is the fact that he was the only one called twice in the tournament. But we will do everything to help him to put this behind him.”