Sunil Narine remains a ”formidable” force but Kolkata Knight Riders’ lack of success has put him under pressure, said former West Indies captain Daren Ganga, who feels a change in franchise could freshen up the struggling Caribbean mystery spinner.
With young spinners like Varun Chakravarthy (17 wickets in 11 matches) and Suyash Sharma (10 wickets in 8 matches) enjoying success this IPL, Narine has struggled with his remodelled bowling action getting him only seven wickets in 11 matches.
The 34-year-old Narine, once at the forefront of the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bowling attack, has played for the two-time IPL winners since IPL 2012.
”He has had major challenges with remodelling of his action. He had to do (it) on a continuous basis, he has been called and warned a few times. He had to step out of international cricket because of that scrutiny,” Ganga said during an interaction at the sidelines of a Cricviz event.
”But for me Sunil Narine is still a formidable force, maybe, him taking a shift in franchise might freshen him up and his impact, who knows?” Ganga said Narine is a part of a three-pronged spin bowling attack and it is not necessary that each bowler would be impactful in all games.
”Sunil Narine is operating in a KKR team where he’s got two additional spinners. That was never the case before. He operated primarily with (Varun) Chakravarthy. But now, he’s got to operate with Suyash Sharma (as well), which makes it a little bit different for him as a player,” said the cricketer-turned commentator.
Ganga defended Narine, saying ”he’s been consistent with line and lengths” and Chakravarthy and Suyash have benefited from his presence.
”I’ve had the chance to speak with him. The lack of success that they’ve experienced as a team has put a lot more pressure on him as a bowler because defending smaller totals, he’s got to bowl in situations where conditions are very good for batting.
”We saw that Kolkata is one of the best batting venues in the IPL. So, he’s also playing in a side where he’s bowling amongst other spinners which are successful. ”If you take three spinners in a complement of five bowlers in a T20 innings someone is not going to perform in terms of taking wickets. His economy has been very similar to Chakravarthy and Sharma – they are beneficiaries while he is operating alongside them.”
”Rohit should take a break to fresh up ahead of WTC final”
Ganga also feels India and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, who is enduring a poor run this season, will benefit from taking a break ahead of the World Test Championship final.
Rohit has just one half-century and 191 runs to show in 11 matches of this IPL, which has raised concerns on his form ahead of the summit clash of the WTC against Australia at The Oval from June 7-11.
”There is no doubt that he is a quality player. We have seen stories in the past of great players who have gone through periods of slump, more recently Virat Kohli was in a lull with his batting and he had to go through a lean period before he regained that form and that desire to score runs,” said Ganga.
”Rohit is going through a similar situation where he is playing a lot of cricket, sometimes as a player you can get jaded, (with) the responsibilities as captain, as a player.” Ganga said stepping aside for a bit would help Rohit freshen up for the challenges ahead. Apart from the WTC final, Rohit will also captain India in the World Cup later this year to be held in India.
”You have heard Sunil Gavaskar recommend that he take a break, freshen his mind before the World Test Championship – that might be a good option for him.
”I felt that in a couple of matches that he played as an impact player with Suryakumar Yadav leading the side that can also be a common ground for him to get a little more time for himself so that he can be fresh when it comes to his batting in the WTC final,” Ganga said.
Talking about the WTC final, Ganga said the use of spinners and getting rid of key Australian batters such as Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne will be important for India.
”Australia’s bad days in cricket are not very far from their very good days. (Otherwise) they are a very consistent side. But India has to be smart in terms of how they penetrate. ”Again, use of spinners, also making sure they can prise their batting and can get into a Steve Smith and a (Marnus) Labuschagne as early as possible. Those are the key points for India winning the WTC. And of course, Rohit Sharma getting into form and Virat Kohli firing is important.” ”I will give India the nod, they have a score to settle. They have been in this situation before. There is a deep desire (in India) to conquer this WTC final, (which) they could not do the last time,” Ganga said.