Narine banks on local experience
West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Sunil Narine hopes to draw from the experience of playing in the IPL to help Trinidad & Tobago succeed in the Champions League T20.
Narine impressed in his maiden IPL season in 2012, picking up 24 wickets and finishing one behind the leading wicket-taker Morne Morkel, when Knight Riders won their only title. His consistency continued in the next season as he took 22 wickets.
"Having played in India and learning a lot with Kolkata [Knight Riders] I think I can use the Indian conditions to my best ability," Narine said. "Playing in the IPL is a plus I have and having won the T20 crown with West Indies last year, I think I'm equipped for this challenge."
Trinidad & Tobago's first match is in Ranchi, which Narine believes to be advantageous. Ranchi was Kolkata's second home venue during the IPL last year and the spinner has fond memories of the JSCA ground, having claimed a four-wicket haul against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"I have experience playing at Ranchi and have done well there. I think that I can share my knowledge with my team when it comes to the venue and also to some of the teams," he said. "So far we have studied the teams that we are going to meet and the players have knowledge of them going in. We have the right crop for the title-run."
Brian Lara, who is traveling with T&T, said they could replicate their heroics from the inaugural Champions League in 2009, when they made the final.
"We have a great chance. It's a young team but there is experience in Denesh (Ramdin) and Sunil Narine, as well as (Ravi) Rampaul, so I can see us making the final four," he said. "T20 is our kind of game and we've shown this as a country but also as a region."
T&T swept all their matches in the Caribbean T20 tournament, barring the opening game which was rained out, and beat Guyana by nine-wickets in the final, qualifying for the CLT20 directly for the first time this year.
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here