MUMBAI—With just nine days to go for the start of the eighth edition of the IPL, there is controversy in the air. The defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders are on a collision course with the BCCI regarding off-spinner Sunil Narine’s participation in the tournament.
Narine was banned for his suspect action during the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 and he could not play in the final against the Chennai Super Kings, which KKR lost by eight wickets.
He was not picked for the West Indies tour to India in November and he opted out of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. He modified his action and was cleared by the ICC during his biomechanical test in Loughborough.
However, in Narine’s case, the ICC did not organise the test as he was not called during an international match. He was called during the Champions League Twenty20, a tournament that is run by the BCCI.
According to the rules in the BCCI, since he was called for a second time, he was banned from bowling in any BCCI-organised tournament.
The BCCI has refused to accept the report submitted by the ICC and has insisted the off-spinner undergoes another round of testing at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai.
However, according to sources, KKR is contemplating legal action against the BCCI. Reports also say that if Narine is not allowed to play in the IPL, KKR might pull out of the tournament.
The team is pointing out that since the bowler was cleared by the ICC, there is no need for a second test and the management is firm that it will not force Narine to undergo another test. The team has met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and have told him that Narine has been ‘targeted’.
They pointed out that Narine was not called for chucking during the IPL but his action was suddenly found illegal in two consecutive matches in the CLT20.
Dalmiya’s office has confirmed that the matter has reached the president’s table and that a decision could be taken in a day or two. KKR chief executive officer Venky Mysore has refused to confirm or deny the reports about his team speaking to Dalmiya.
Meanwhile, in another development, KKR have gotten in Johan Botha and Azhar Mahmood as replacements for Chris Lynn and Jimmy Neesham. Neesham will miss the IPL due to a stress fracture in his back while Lynn is in doubt for the whole tournament due to a hamstring injury.