Sunil Narine comes across as the quintessential West Indies player who has remained in awe of Brian Lara but would hate to be hit for a boundary by even the great batsman.
Quite the rage in cricket's shortest format, the 23-year-old though is fond of Test cricket. He is yet to be given a central contract by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). It also did not consider him for the ongoing home Test series despite tormenting the Australians in the preceding ODIs but Narine has chosen dignified silence in the matter.
“I don't have a central contract with the Board but that's not the reason why I'm not playing Test cricket,” said Narine. That's all he said about the matter."At the moment I would love to be known more as a limited overs bowler but only time will tell. I hope to be known as a Test cricketer as well but I can't say what will happen in the future," he added.
Nevertheless, Narine is enjoying his moment under the spotlight, more because of the mystery ball he produces now and then. He helped decode that a bit.
“My mystery ball is the one going away from the right-handed batsman and the one coming into the left-handed batsman,” said Narine, who started out as a medium-pacer. “I wasn't getting much of a chance to bowl, so I thought of trying something different.
At the age of 16-17, I started bowling spin and it worked out in the end.”
Sri Lanka connection
A Sri Lankan helped make the decision easier though. “I was encouraged to take up spin bowling after watching (Muttiah) Muralitharan bowl; and the way he used to mesmerise the batsmen. He's one in a million. He's probably the main reason why I'm a spinner,” said the 23-year-old Trinidadian.
His guile with spin and the 'other ball' means comparisons with Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis are inevitable. But Narine is confident he won't be sorted out as easily as the Sri Lankan. Asked if he has more variety than Mendis, Narine said: “I wouldn't say more variety but I would probably try to learn from that and do a few more things. Hopefully, I will learn a newer ball.”
The turn Narine got from the Eden Gardens pitch last week was prodigious, but he is aware that was an aberration. “I might not get the same amount of turn, but I will probably get enough so I'm comfortable bowling. I believe in myself and hopefully I will be able to bowl on whatever wicket comes along my way.”