Narine to join Cape Cobras
Sunil Narine, the West Indies offspinner who is currently ranked the world's No. 1 Twenty20 bowler, has signed with the South African franchise, Cape Cobras, for the domestic Twenty20 competition.
Narine will be the frontline spinner in an outfit that will be packed with international stars including Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt, and is no doubt part of their plans to qualify for next year's CLT20. The Cobras last played in the lucrative event two years ago in 2011 and finished at the bottom of the points table last season.
They aim to turn that around this season, by making use of as many high-profile players as possible "Most of our internationals should be available for the twenty-over competition and we asked ourselves the question, who would best complement them? " Paul Adams, Cobras coach said. "Sunil's strength is that you can bring him on to bowl at pressure moments in the innings and he still strikes and keeps the run rate down."
South Africa's domestic twenty-over competition is scheduled to take place between January 8 and February 9. It is a window period in which the national players will be available, especially since their series against India is likely to be curtailed.
India were due to play in South Africa until January 19 but have scheduled a trip to New Zealand which starts on that day. Australia's series in South Africa only begins on February 12 which will ensure the national players can appear in what CSA have promised will be a much higher-profile domestic T20 competition, which they hope will include some big signings.
Graham Onions has been contracted to the Dolphins for the summer and Narine has become the second international name to join a South African side. Narine shot to fame in the 2011 Champions League and has enjoyed big success in two IPL seasons that followed, including a Player-of-the-season performance in in 2012. He was also an integral part of West Indies' World Twenty20 title victory last year, taking nine wickets and conceding only 5.63 runs an over.
Narine is currently playing in the CLT20 in India for his native Trinidad & Tobago, who are awaiting their final group match against Chennai Super Kings on October 2, in order to ascertain whether or not they will progress through to the semi-finals. "I look forward to working with Paul Adams and the guys in the new year. South Africa has one of the toughest leagues in the world, so it will be a big test for me. The Cobras look to have a serious squad of players and hopefully I can contribute," he said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent