Convincing Sunil Narine to Play in T20 World Cup

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Caption: Sunil Narine playing for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the 2023 CPL

By Prior Beharry

PRESIDENT of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath is going to try to convince T20 superstar Sunil Narine to be on the West Indies team for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s World Cup.

Contacted by AZP News on Wednesday for a comment, Bassarath, who is also a vice president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) said, “I think some dialogue should take place at least from a CWI perspective to see if we can change his mind because Sunil in the West Indies team, as somebody would have said yesterday, is one hand on the trophy.”

He said, “I will do my best to see if I can contact him today, I am not making a promise, but if we can get him to change his mind and to make himself available, just to say that he is available for this  month-long tournament.”

The World Cup takes place from June 1 to 29 in the Caribbean and the United States. Narine retired from international cricket in November last year but his performance for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) this season has many cricket fans asking to see him again in the maroon colours.

On Tuesday, Narine hit his first T20 century, scoring 109 from 56 balls against the Rajasthan Royals in the 2024 IPL. But despite helping his team to massive total of 223, an unbeaten 107 from Jos Butler saw the Royals to victory by two wickets.

Azim Bassarath

So far in the IPL this season, Narine has scores 276 runs at an average if 46, and a strike rate of 187.76. In the bowling department, in his six matches, he has seven wickets with an average of 23.57 and an economy rate of 6.88. His best figures thus far are 2/30.

After his century, Narine was asked if he would reconsider his retirement, he responded, “It is what it is, but let’s see what the future holds.”

And West Indies T20 cricket captain Rovman Powell said he has been trying to convince Narine to return for the World Cup.

Powell said, “For the last 12 months, I’ve been whispering in his ears, but he’s blocked out everyone.”

Cricket analyst and commentator Fazeer Mohammed agreed that Narine’s overall performance in the IPL this season has reinforced his value as a world-class performer in the T20 format but warns about desperation by the West Indies team.

Fazeer Mohammed

He said, “Obviously he would be a huge asset to the West Indies team, but it is up to him to decide whether or not he wants to rescind his decision to retire from West Indies duty.

“Clearly efforts are being made to persuade him to be available for the World Cup. However it is an unseemly spectacle that does no credit to West Indies cricket.”

Mohammed added, “To have what amounts to public begging to get someone to play for the regional side inadvertently sends a message of desperation, which is untimely given the proximity of the World Cup and unnecessary given the team’s performances over the past 12 months.”

Bassarath said that Narine has indicated that not available to West Indies cricket.

He said as cricket fans look at Narine’s current performance, they of course want him to be included in the West Indies squad.

To this end, Bassarath said he will make an attempt to contact Narine.

West Indies have won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2012 and 2016.

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