West Indies in England 2012 May 27, 2012

Shillingford's handy, Narine's magic

Shane Shillingford is bowling for the West Indies in this Test .

Shane Shillingford is bowling for the West Indies in this Test.

Shillingford has that same pushing-back-at-an-imaginary-person-trying-to-hug-him that Harbhajan Singh does. He gets good bounce. Has a first-class bowling average of 25. Experience over many years of cricket. Has a ten-wicket haul in Test Cricket. Will one day have a stand named after him.

He’s not Sunil Narine.

Sunil Narine has never played a Test, but will probably make more money out of cricket over the previous few weeks than Shillingford ever will. Right now more people are clicking on Narine’s ESPNcricinfo profile, the one that shows his Mohawk well as he smiles cheekily, than have probably ever looked up Shillingford’s profile (which is him looking rather uncomfortable and like he was taken by surprise).

Shillingford was overlooked for the first Test for a debutante; there is not an attack in world cricket that would overlook Sunil Narine right now.

Shillingford is a workhorse, there’s no magic, mystery or mayhem about him. That doesn’t mean he isn’t good. But he’s good as in handy, not good as in Narine.

Narine has tricks that Shillingford will be able to talk about, but probably never replicate. But it isn’t just the tricks that Narine has, his magical mystery ball is amazing, but his normal offspinning delivery is at the moment the best spinning stock ball in world cricket. It bites, and bounces. And even when his carom ball (which if you can pick it, does very little at all) does get worked out, Narine will still be world class.

The best spin bowlers use tricks to confuse batsman who can’t pick it from the hand and embarrass the tail, but it’s the stock ball that you need if you want to be a Warne, Murali or Kumble. Narine is a long way from joining this company, and while his stock ball is far better than that of the last mystery phenom, Mendis, once people pick your trick ball, that’s when it really gets tough for bowlers.

Shillingford’s stock ball is okay. It’s certainly not horrible, and when he’s on a helpful surface he can bowl for an amazing amount of hours and take quite a few wickets. On a surface like this, against a team who is willing to attack him, he looks a bit out of his depth.

In this Test so far, Shillingford is going at 4.7 an over. In the 2012 IPL so far, Narine has so far gone for 5.2 an over.

Today Narine will be watched by close to a billion people, Shillingford by only million or so. One playing for his country. One playing for his financial future.

I hope Narine plays a blinder for Kolkata Knight Riders, wins the IPL and sets up his entire future in one night. But more than that I hope as soon as humanly possible he plays for his region in a Test match.

West Indies have more than a few well-meaning workhorses who are helping them put in slightly improved performances, now they need some magic. And right now, that’s Narine.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on June 1, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Cricket is not boxing,management has to start treat players properly.

  • testli5504537 on June 1, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    I hope Narine does well but it will be a tough ask because WI spinners haven't had much luck getting onto the WI team consistently in the last 30 years despite routinely dominating the top of the wicket tables in regional cricket. Some of this is due to WI batsmen usually being hopeless against spin so the spinners get more wickets than they would in other countries. In more recent times WI pitches have become more spin friendly (or less pace friendly?) but to some extent this is a matter of perception as the number of grounds international cricket is played on the WI has grown from Sabina, Kensington, Bourda, Queen's Park to include more pitches in the smaller islands so there is more variety in the pitches. It's likely that English pitches won't be as spin friendly but in general the WI need to make developing and including spinners more of priority otherwise we will be leaving talent on the sidelines especially now that talented pacers aren't as thick on the ground as they once were

  • testli5504537 on June 1, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Firstly, let me make it clear that's it's totally unfair to make a FAIR comparism between Shane and Narine. Things which stand out about Shane is his consistency and control over long periods and is very eFfective with his top spinners/ doorsa. On the other hand, Narine has his stock ball which is similar to the popular "carrom" ball from Ashwin jus that he uses two fingers to push the ball foward. However I believe Shane has more deliveries in his armery but is kinda reluctant to bring them out because of his unfortunate illegal action allegations,comments and observations . Let's wait to see Narime on the test level against the big batsmen with no time and run rate constraints, then we'll be in a better position to compare.

  • testli5504537 on June 1, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    about NARAINE calm bloke...with lots of variations, a natural talent. But giving him chance in the test is pretty contentious with him being played only six f c matches and for those people( specifically non-indians) who think IPL is a waste of time and means nothing to them.....well it has groomed many players not domestic but international e.g nannes, warner, pollard and now naraine. playing in front thousands of people is immense pressure and sheer test of mental strength. If u can't accept IPL don't lambast it atleast!!

  • testli5504537 on June 1, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    I am glad that the hype has been spotted here. The IPL is not proper cricket and was not designed to be. Therefore prediction of someone's Test potential based on 24 balls bowled under lights in an Indian stadium with everyone on the boundary is like listening to someone sing in the shower and say: "That bloke would be good at La Scala."

    He may well cause an Ian Bell a few difficulties. He may well be a useful ONE DAY bowler. But don't count on Test success. I remember reading that Yuvraj Singh was a great player on this site. He had a great tour of England, didn't he? The short ball - ie. one not bowled at his bat - made him look like the overpaid pub slogger he must always have been. A few smears at the IPL that come off do NOT make you great.

    GREAT is: Kallis, Dravid etc

  • testli5504537 on May 31, 2012, 22:58 GMT

    Poor John Duchaussee of Trinidad. Completely devoid of logic. Sunil Narine was playing in the regional T20 series when he was bought by KKR. He was THEN selected for the ODIs and T20s against Australia. He played in regional tournaments and Champions League last year and was overlooked for everything by WICB, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, India again. He wasn't overlooked by the teams that were bidding for him in the IPL auction though.

  • testli5504537 on May 31, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    Now that he has been included in the side is great. But what happens if he doesn't produce? Many have shown signs of greatness but only flitting.

    What WI need is not a one-off side show but consistency with our talented players. We need our talented players to develop (and to have) mental toughness.

    Hope for the best in the final match!!! Go Windies

  • testli5504537 on May 30, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    personaly i would prefer if west indies cricket was disbanded, simply because it does not have the same role as it did when comming into existance. we might remeber balck men making a staement of protest throught sport in the caribbean as it was done in india, but unlike india the caribbean is made of different islands that have different cultures, languages, goals and desires, with the vast diversity it is improbable that the single unifying entity be a sport embroiled in controversy that is generated as a result of contradictory views that has nothing to do with cricket, disband west indies cricket let each island stand alone as we do in each other sport, this may sound rediculous to most but there is no more need for west indies cricket.

  • testli5504537 on May 30, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    More and more, Wist Indies Cricket is being placed in greater and greater dilemma. When will it ever come to an end? As long as every friend, and every territory clamors' for their own, it will be to the detriment of the Game of cricket in the Caribbean. For years now, Craft and Holding and few other commentators have done much damage to our cricketers. "Post your comments" column, is not being used properly and in the interest of the sport and is causing problems too.. Why not post a good advice always and in a gentle and constructive way. When you take out the Barbadian or St. Lician and put a Trinidadian, Jamaican at the top, it is not going to solve W.I cricket problem. Because of the money in Cricket today, players have one foot in and one out: Ipl verses country. Not much difference in players performance in regional competitions! They fail today and do well tomorrow. Buy cricketers, pick different teams and let them compete in the region. Much better! Why not try it!

  • testli5504537 on May 30, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    It is very sad that people are allowed to make comments unchallenged on this site. Most often they are clueless and do not read enough to keep in touch with current events. A frequent comment here is that The West Indies selectors only heard of Narine when he was picked up by the KKR. I wish to inform all readers that Sunil Narine left the West Indies team after the ODI series but before the Test series started vs Australia so that he could play in the IPL.

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