Clive Lloyd, the chairman of the West Indies selection panel, has questioned the Champions League T20’s decision to ban Sunil Narine, highlighting that the offspinner had bowled around the world for years without being reported. Narine was suspended from bowling in the CLT20 on Thursday, and he was later withdrawnby the West Indies board from the India series starting this week.
Lamenting the timing of the suspension, “just before an important series against India and the World Cup that follows”, Lloyd said he was surprised by questions over the legality of Narine’s action.
“He has been bowling over the years with the same sort of action. Now all of a sudden it has changed. What has changed, I don’t know,” Lloyd said on Friday, at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, where West Indies played a warm-up game. Lloyd made his comments before the decision to withdraw Narine had been taken. “You can’t just ban him from bowling just before an important tour like this and with the World Cup coming up. It destroys the individual’s ability as such and I think you may end up destroying someone’s career. “
Narine has been the stand-out performer for Kolkata Knight Riders in recent seasons, guiding them to two IPL titles in three years. “This guy has been doing well playing for KKR for the last three years,” Lloyd said. “If you look at his action, he has been doing pretty much the same and I want to know what is it that has been found that they ban him and not say something like, ‘Listen, you have a bit of a problem and you have to rectify it.'”
Lloyd compared the situation with that of Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who has been suspended from bowling in international cricket. “All of a sudden, this guy [Narine] who is supposed to be one of the best bowlers around – like Ajmal for that matter, how many Test wickets does Ajmal have? – and all of a sudden his bowling action is suspect. My point is something should be done before all this comes to this point.
“It can destroy a team. You want to know if this is being orchestrated because if you lose your main bowler then it puts some pressure on the selectors and the team and so on.”
Lloyd also questioned the Champions League T20 regulations and procedure, which has proven to be rather ambiguous.
“Nobody has told us anything. Nobody has written a letter. That is the thing about it. Something should be said to us. We are left high and dry. All of a sudden, the guy is not playing in a tournament he has played for the last three years. What are you then saying about the tournament then? Are you saying that the tournament has probably previously allowed people who have got bad actions to play?”
Lloyd also revealed that the WICB and the West Indies team management had been told that Narine would be under the scanner in India by a source whose identity he would not disclose. “Before we came here we were told that they were going to call Narine, so it’s quite obvious that something must have been said somewhere,” he said. “I really can’t tell you that [who it was] but I can tell you it’s a highly reliable source, because we have to make contingency plans for things like that just in case it happens.”
Asked if the ICC, which has been tight-lipped over the issue since it doesn’t govern the Champions League, should step in and get in touch with the WICB, Lloyd said he hoped it happened soon. “I think it’s wrong the way they have gone about it and I have been involved
in the ICC for years [as a match referee and technical committee chief] and I think you cannot just ban a guy just like that. This is a guy who has played for us all over the world, not only in the West Indies. All of a sudden, this guy has got a suspect action. I am not happy, I would like to strongly say that.”
Kumar Dharmasena, a leading umpire on the ICC Elite Panel, has been involved in three of the four cases of suspect actions being reported in Champions League. So, Lloyd said, he was not sure if that indirectly meant Narine would be reported in international cricket.
With the ICC taking a hard stance on illegal actions in the last six months, the WICB was likely to be wary. Ian Gould, another Elite Panel umpire, will be one of the match officials for the ODI series in India. Gould was among the umpires who reported offspinners Sachithra Senanayake and Ajmal, both of whom were later banned from bowling in international cricket, earlier this year.