The world may be gushing over his wicket-taking abilities through rather unorthodox ways, but that does not perturb Sunil Narine. Instead, the focus is on working hard and giving his best for his team, the West Indies or Kolkata Knight Riders. Excerpts from an interview:
Three years on, batsmen still trying to figure you out. Do you think you have become a bowler beyond comprehension?
I am surprised that given the technology teams have at their disposal these days, the decoding, if any, has not happened already.
Between your debut and now, there was talk on how to play you out. Does that analysis, which happens every time you take a wicket, bother you?
I do not think too much about things that surround the game. I will continue to work hard and keep improving my bowling and contribute to the team to the best of my ability.
It’s a game of one-upmanship — your tricks against theirs. How do you plot your survival, knowing that one day batsmen might find a solution to the puzzle?
I am not a person who thinks like that. I believe that if I keep working hard and focus on my game I will do well.
More than being amongst the highest wicket-takers, is it a greater joy to be at the top of your game through deception?
I am grateful for the skill I have. It is something I have worked hard on and being successful after the hard work gives me joy.
Exposure to softball earlier on led you to develop this action and got into play the middle finger — be it the off-spinner or knuckle ball. How did you develop the belief that you could break away from the mould of a regular off-spinner?
Again, it is not something I thought of. My aim was to work hard on my bowling and do my best without worrying about anything else.
Among other things that work in your favour, which of these — variation, length, accuracy and channel of line — do you rely on in times of crisis?
All of these are vital as they are necessary to contain batsmen while trying to pick up wickets.
Is it true that you wanted to be a pace bowler but your body wasn’t ready? Do you feel it is genetic (his Indian origin) that you bowl spin?
As long as I’ve played cricket, I have been a spin bowler. I cannot say about the genes, maybe it is the talent that I have been blessed with.
Your Test figures are a mismatch vis-à-vis your ODI and T20 stats. Is it because the urgency, which forces batsmen to go after you in shorter formats, is not there in Test cricket?
I’m always working to improve in all formats. Sometimes, there is a better chance of picking up wickets in T20 because batsmen go after you.
When do you know that you are close to taking a wicket? Is it the batsman’s dodgy footwork, a mistimed or rash shot?
It is a combination of factors. Most of the time it is the confidence that you are getting the better of the batsman and that it is a matter of time.
Your captain (Gautam Gambhir) said his bowlers would win him more matches. How did all of you work around each other’s strengths and weaknesses while taking Knight Riders to the IPL final?
We are a very good bowling unit. Everyone has their strengths, especially the quality spinners we have on board and of course the conditions in India.
Deep down do you equate yourself to a fast bowler who gives a breakthrough?
I consider myself just another wheel in the unit who tries his best to do well for the team. I do try and attack batsmen in situations because that is a way of getting wickets.
How did you get this hairstyle and how much time do you devote to getting it right?
It is something I tried and liked, so I stuck to it. As for the time, hardly five minutes.