Rowley Can’t Influence Narine to Play for Windies in World Cup

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Caption: Sunil Narine playing for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy last November after announcing his retirement from West Indies cricket

By Prior Beharry

PRIME Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he is not in a position to influence T20 superstar Sunil Narine to play for the West Indies team in the upcoming World Cup.

He said, “I’m not in a position to influence Narine on that. I will go as far as to say, I’d like to see the best team out on the field and if Narine is on that team, I will not have any arguments. If he comes out of retirement, as a commitment to West Iindies cricket that will be great.”

Dr Rowley was responding to a question from AZP News at the post-Cabinet press conference at Whitehall on Thursday.

He said, “If a person has retired, to try to get them to come out of retirement is an assignment.”

The discussion has been sparked following Narine’s outstanding performance for the the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL), where blasted a century this week.

Former West Indies cricketer turned commentator Samuel Badree initiated the conversation when he broached the subject with Narine who retired from international cricket in November last year.

Narine said, “It is what it is, but we’ll have to see what the future holds.”

Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath told AZP News: “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.”

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.

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.

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.”

Dr Rowley, the current chairman of the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee for Cricket, said there will be a conference at the Hyatt in Port of Spain next week with stakeholders to discuss a way forward for West Indies cricket.

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