Narine could face IPL-Test clash
The West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has conceded the spinner Sunil Narine could face a difficult decision if the selectors want him in the squad for the three Tests against Australia. Narine was one of the surprise stars of the IPL auction in February, when he picked up a $700,000 contract to play with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
But the IPL coincides with the Test series and Narine's excellent form in the first three ODIs against Australia makes him a likely candidate for the Test squad. Narine, 23, is yet to make his Test debut but has taken 34 first-class wickets at the remarkable average of 11.88, and the Australians would be pleased if he was not part of the Test series.
The issue is complicated by the fact that Narine does not hold a central contract with West Indies, having only established himself as an international prospect in the past few months. Gibson said it would be difficult to stop Narine playing in the IPL if that was his preference, but that discussions were being held to address the clash.
"I'm not sure what the board can do because he's not contracted to the board," Gibson told reporters in the West Indies. "He's got a situation that is going to set him up very nicely and as much as we would like to have him playing, six months ago Narine was not in our thoughts. We need to be a little bit careful in how we deal with that situation and that's what we're doing at the moment. There's conversations going on behind the scenes."
West Indies will almost certainly be without Chris Gayle for the entire Australia series after talks between Gayle and the West Indies board failed to reach a resolution this week. The batsman Marlon Samuels is another man who could face a decision between the IPL and Test cricket, having scored a contract with the Pune Warriors.
Australia's opening batsman David Warner said his priority would always be Test cricket ahead of Twenty20 commitments, despite his high value in the shortest format. However, Warner is expected to be one of the highest-paid men in the Cricket Australia contract list this year, having established himself in all three formats, while men like Narine and Samuels don't have the same kind of security.
"My goal as a kid was to get the baggy green and I'm actually here opening the batting," Warner said. "I'm trying to take my opportunity to cement my place there. I'm 100% Test cricket over IPL any day. These guys have made their choices but at the end of the day they have to make their mind up about what they're benefiting out of it. If it's money then it's money. That's their choice. Some of them might not even get picked in the Test team so we just don't know."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here