Narine 2.0 hasn't lost his old magic - Hogg
Sunil Narine will rejoin Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday evening after a brief visit back home to Trinidad and Tobago following the death of his father. Narine will be available for selection for Knight Riders' second fixture on Wednesday, against Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens.
Narine, who opted out of the 2016 World Twenty20 to work on his remodelled action, underwent testing at the ICC-accredited centre in Chennai before joining his IPL team-mates in Kolkata, but had to rush back home on April 3. His action was deemed legal by the ICC on April 7, two days before the start of this year's IPL.
Brad Hogg, Knight Riders' other lead spinner, who addressed the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, insisted a change in action has had little impact on Narine's control and mastery. "It is good having Sunil V 2.0," Hogg said. "It is just a confidence thing with Sunil. I remember taking some balls from him.
"I struggled to pick it from the hand. He was bowling the doosra or I thought it was going the other way and I looked like a complete idiot as the ball went to the boundary past me," Hogg said rolling his eyes to the left to indicate the ball sliding down the leg side. "His action was perfect. And he was still bowling the balls we see out in the middle. We know that he can do it legitimately."
Hogg, who took three wickets in Knight Riders' nine-wicket win in their tournament opener against Delhi Daredevils, said Narine's return would mean a tussle for spots, but insisted it was a healthy rivalry.
"We put pressure on each other with the ball. It is competitive and respectful competition between us," he said. "He is a class bowler. He has been sorely missed. As individuals we train hard. We want to be able to be on the park. But it is a team. If I am not playing and he takes my spot, I have to create the energy which I quite have in the change room to make sure everyone is up for the challenge."
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo