ST JOHN’S: West Indies’ World Cup chances suffered a major blow yesterday with mystery spinner Sunil Narine withdrawing from the squad for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
According to a release from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Narine “requires more time to be able to confidently bowl for a sustained period in international cricket with his new action”.
While the Trinidadian mystery spinner has not been under any cloud of official sanction from the International Cricket Council, his action was deemed to be illegal on two occasions during the Champions League (CL) T20 tournament last September.
It was ruled to be in violation of the 15-degree allowance of straightening of the bowling arm and he was banned from appearing for his franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders, in the final.
Narine declined an offer from the WICB to assist with remedial work to his action and pursued the corrective process on his own.
His first competitive foray since the CLT20 experience was the Nagico Super50 regional 50-over tournament in Trinidad and Tobago, which concluded on Sunday.
The slow bowler returned astonishing figures of 6-9 off eight overs to ensure a comprehensive victory for the hosts over Guyana in the final at the Queen’s Park Oval.
He was also the most successful bowler in the tournament with 12 wickets.
Despite these encouraging numbers, Narine was not entirely satisfied with his rehabilitation. “Going to the World Cup is a little too much, too soon and, after consulting the WICB, for both West Indies and my sake we have decided to delay my return to international cricket until I am 100 percent confident in all that I do,” he stated in the WICB release.
His surprise pull-out of the squad has been supported by the Board “as to risk exposure to the intensity of the Cricket World Cup would be both unfair to him and the West Indies squad”.
Despite this official explanation, endorsed by the player himself, there is widespread speculation that his action is in some way related to the omission of fellow Trinidadians Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the ODI squads for both the current series in South Africa and the World Cup.
Bravo was the captain and Pollard a member of the West Indies squad that pulled out of the tour of India last October in a dispute over money.
A replacement for Narine is expected to be named by the WICB shortly.
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