Relieved after Sunil Narine’s action was cleared by the ICC, Kolkata Knight Riders star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan said on Friday that it is a big boost to their campaign as the West Indies off-spinner is still the leader of their bowling attack.
“It’s a big relief not only to me but to the entire team. He is a vital cog in KKR’s wheel. He has always played a great role in KKR’s success. So, it’s a big positive for us,” Shakib said on the sidelines of their practice session.
The Trinidadian had undergone a retest at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on March 28 and checked in the city ahead of KKR’s camp but only to rush back home after his father’s untimely demise.
Narine was reported during the third ODI against Sri Lanka on 7th November, 2015 in Pallekele and subsequently banned.
At the retest, it was revealed that the amount of elbow extensions in Narine’s bowling action for all his deliveries that were tested was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted.
The umpires, however, are free to report Narine in the future if they believe he uses a suspect action.
Shakib, however, said Narine would still command the same respect he’s been getting all these years.
“I don’t think it matters much for a quality spinner like Narine. Everyone knows he’s a world class bowler and batsmen give him the respect. I still think he will still lead the pack. Of course we will contribute in our way. His role is very important,” said the Bangladesh allrounder ahead of their season opener against Delhi Daredevils here on Sunday.
With KKR boasting of legendary allrounder Jacques Kallis as their head coach, Shakib said the South African is way ahead of others.
“It’s a new role for him. I’m sure he would do well with his vast experience. No coach in the world has so much of experience as him. He is way ahead of others. I’m sure everyone will support him and will do well for us,” he said.
“I don’t think much has changed. Yes they are different people but their thought process is all same. We never faced any problem. Kallis knows all the players inside out so it will be easier for him.”
Fresh from playing in these conditions in the World Twenty20, Shakib said he’s looking forward to contribute to the team’s success.
“I feel proud to be able to play at the Eden in KKR’s colours. I’m happy with my contribution in the last few seasons. I hope to contribute to their success in future. I think our team is stronger than before. We gel together well. We all are focused and up for the challenge.”
On whether fatigue would be a concern, he said: “Maybe it will be difficult for the ones who have played in the final. But as for me, I had about 8-10 days’ off after our last match March 26. I think it was enough time for me to recover.”
After two home matches, against DD (April 10) and Mumbai Indians (April 13), KKR will be on the road for a six-match away run and Shakib said this could be an advantage.
“We want to focus on ourselves and take one match at a time. First two matches are very important for us. It will be a big plus for us if we can win the away matches and return home for the home leg.”
With no national commitments, Shakib will be available for all the KKR matches this season.