Windies board almost messed up Sunil Narine’s career, says coach David Furlonge
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Windies board almost messed up Sunil Narine’s career, says coach David Furlonge

Sunil Narine’s coach David Furlonge feels the 29-year-old got no support from the Cricket West Indies and it was with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) help that the mystery spinner managed to correct his action.

india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jun 22, 2017 18:23 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Trinidad
Sunil Narine,Cricket West Indies,India vs West Indies
West Indies’ Sunil Narine has taken 92 wickets in 65 ODIs so far. (Getty Images)

Sunil Narine’s career path reflects how bad West Indies cricket can get when it comes to handling its star players.

The mystery spinner, prized by Kolkata Knight Riders for his hard-hitting abilities and a hot property up until a few seasons ago as a bowler, hasn’t just been overlooked by the Cricket West Indies but had to fight the battles almost on his own after being called for suspect action. Some support did come his way from his country--Trinidad and Tobago-- one of the constituents of the West Indies cricket board.

(Read | Sunil Narine takes three, West Indies end Afghanistan’s record T20I streak)

In the mid-90s when Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was under attack for his bowling action, the then skipper Arjuna Ranatunga ensured that the bowler got his and national board’s full support.

But when Narine, the mystery spinner, was caught in a similar situation, the West Indies board simply ignored him. They even refused to take stock of his career. It was only Kolkata Knight Riders who persisted with him and had British expert Carl Crowe help the bowler correct his action after he was suspended by BCCI. He had also been suspended from bowling at the international level.

(Read | India vs West Indies 2017: A look at the previous 10 ODIs)

Queen’s Park Cricket Club head coach David Furlonge, who has coached Narine since he was seven, expressed his disappointment. “When he needed a consultant to correct his action last year, Cricket West Indies didn’t do anything. The cost of consultation was 60,000 Trinidadian dollars and the T&T Cricket Board as well as the government came to help,” Furlonge said.

Narine then went to Chennai for a test and returned successful.

(Read | Virat Kohli-led India land for ‘second-string’ Caribbean sojourn)

Rediscovered batting in IPL

His pinch-hitting at the top this season provided vital starts to KKR. Besides Gayle, he is probably the second most popular West Indian among the Indian fans thanks to his exploits this year.

While his abilities with the bat may have come as a surprise to Indian fans, Furlonge isn’t bemused. “He used to open at junior level. It was only when he discovered spin bowling, almost accidentally, that he began losing focus on his batting.”

(Read | IND vs. WI: Windies’ last realistic chance for direct World Cup qualification)

Narine started as a medium-pacer and in an inter-island tournament for Garry Sobers Trophy, as a 17-year-old, asked Furlonge if he could bowl in the match in Barbados. “I denied him permission. His action was suspect and under scanner. So he returned and worked on his off-spin with his dad in the garage. It worked and he became mainly a bowler, almost forgetting his batting.”

Till of course, franchise cricket rediscovered it.

Furlonge feels Narine isn’t the only player who has suffered from short-sightedness of West Indies cricket board. “Kieron Pollard made a name for himself in four-day cricket. He scored runs and came into limelight through that only. However, Cricket West Indies have coined him as a cricketer fit only for limited overs format.”

First Published: Jun 22, 2017 18:02 IST