If the dropping of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard followed by the one-sided ODI series defeat in South Africa were not enough, West Indies’ worries ahead of World Cup 2015 have intensified with their premier spinner Sunil Narine deciding to pull out of the squad. Mystery spinner Narine decided to give himself more time to work on his bowling action, which was reported as suspect in successive matches during last year’s Champions League T20 where Narine represented Kolkata Knight Riders.
Following that, Narine had told the WICB that he would take care of his rehabilitation on his own. It is understood that Knight Riders were heavily involved in helping Narine during the time. After more than three months away from competitive cricket, Narine was instrumental in Trinidad & Tobago winning the domestic one-day competition on Sunday. He delivered an unbroken eight-over spell in which he cut through Guyana with his variations on his way to a six-for that included the wicket of the vastly-experienced Shivnarine Chanderpual, who was lbw to a classic offbreak.
Despite that successful comeback, Narine admitted that he was not completely confident about returning to international cricket. “Playing for [T&T] Red Force and winning the NAGICO Super50 has been a big boost, but going in 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% confident in all that I do,” Narine said in a WICB media release. “Whilst I am very happy with the progress made to date with my action, and I express my thanks to the coaches working with me in Trinidad and Dr Daryl Foster in Perth, Australia, I am withdrawing from the World Cup.”
Incidentally Narine’s decision comes less than a week after the ICC revealed that it will fast-track the testing process during the World Cup and submit a report within a week of the bowler’s action being reported. The faster evaluation is part of ICC’s effort to eradicate suspect bowling actions and is bound to defeat any strategy of teams saving bowlers with suspect actions for the latter stages of the World Cup; that would have worked under the Standard Regulations applicable to non-ICC Events where the bowler can continue to bowl in international cricket as long as he is tested within three weeks of being reported.
Despite not playing any international cricket after the Champions League, Narine was included in the World Cup squad by the Clive Lloyd-lead selection panel. In the Champions League, umpires initially reported three deliveries from Narine – all quick balls – in a group match against Dolphins. Knight Riders took a gamble by playing him in the semi-finals against Hobart Hurricanes. Narine, who managed to finish as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker, was banned from bowling in the final after all four semi-final overs were deemed suspect.