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Narine, Russell opt out of Bangladesh Tests
ST JOHN’S, Antigua—Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine has once again chosen the Twenty20 format over Test cricket, after opting out of consideration for the two-Test series against Bangladesh. He was a notable omission from the 13-man squad announced by the West Indies Cricket Board yesterday for the first Test against Bangladesh at Arnos Vale, which bowls off September 5th.
CMC Sports understands that the 26-year-old is focusing on representing Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League Twenty20, which runs from September 13th to October 14th in India. He will be joined by Jamaica all-rounder Andre Russell, who also opted out of consideration for the upcoming series to represent Knight Riders in the Champions League. Without identifying Narine or Russell, the WICB said in a statement that two players had chosen to play in the Champions League T20 instead of being considered for selection. However, the Board pointed out that the players’ decision would have no adverse effect on their future selection.
“Two players who were considered for selection to the Test squad have opted to play in the Champions League which has an ICC approved window on the international schedule,” the statement said. “The players’ decisions will not have any deleterious effect on consideration for future West Indies selection.” Narine played in last week’s three-match One-Day International series against the Bangladeshis, taking four wickets. Last June, Narine was overlooked for the three-Test series against New Zealand, after opting to remain in India with Knight Riders for the IPL final, instead of returning for a preparation camp in Barbados. He had been mandated to join the camp by June 1st, ahead of the first Test in Jamaica which bowled off June 8th.
At the time, the WICB Director of Cricket Richard Pybus said that the Windies First Policy required all players to make themselves available for team preparations.
Narine, who made his Test debut two years ago in England, has played just six Tests and taken 21 wickets at an average of 40. The squad for the first Test will be led by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and includes batsman Jermaine Blackwood and fast bowler Jason Holder, both of whom have played one Test after being handed debuts against New Zealand. Blackwood hit a half-century in the second Test at Queen’s Park Oval before being dropped for the final game of the series where Holder also struck a fifty on debut before his home crowd at Kensington Oval. (CMC)