“Call me RamKING Sharma,” Omardath Maraj, a joint winner of this year’s Chutney Soca Monarch, jokingly said as our interview was about to begin.
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Knight Riders backing embattled Narine
Sunil Narine’s Indian Premier League franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders, has thrown its full backing behind the embattled off-spinner, following his abrupt withdrawal from the West Indies Twenty20 World Cup squad.
Despite being banned from bowling in international cricket last November, The Trinidadian was named in a 15-man squad for the ICC tournament starting in India next month—pending a test on his action at the ICC-accredited Loughborough University in England this month.
Last Friday, however, Narine pulled out of the squad citing the need for more time to work on his action. Venky Mysore, the CEO of Knight Riders, said they were backing Narine to make a successful return to international cricket despite the latest setback. “We don’t have any such concerns because he is a champion,” Mysore said.
“His action is one of its kind in the world and what tends to happen is that in a match situation when umpires look at him, it is an unusual action which is what makes him so effective.” Narine has battled with the legality of his action in recent times. He was twice called in the Champions League Twenty20 two years ago and then was forced to undergo a Indian Cricket Board-approved test before he could play in last year’s IPL.
Narine was again called while representing West Indies in Sri Lanka and subsequent test showed his action exceeded the legal requirements under ICC regulations.
Since then, he has been undergoing rehabilitation on his action with the help of English bowling coach Carl Crowe and Mysore said good progress had been already made.
“He has been working very, very hard. We have been supporting Sunil in all ways possible. I spoke with Carl Crowe and he is not at all concerned about Sunil going for testing and coming out well,” the official pointed out.
“It is about how quickly the modifications he is doing becomes second nature and he can actually go and practice that in match situations, so we have no concerns at all.”
Narine has been a feature of the Knight Riders IPL franchise for the last four season, taking 74 wickets and helping them to the title in 2012 and 2014.
Last year, Knight Riders bought over Caribbean Premier League franchise T&T Red Steel and this year have acquired Narine from Guyana Amazon Warriors.