T&T sports minister pleads Narine's case
Anil Roberts, Trinidad and Tobago's sports minister, has urged the WICB to rethink its decision to rule Sunil Narine out of consideration for the Test series against New Zealand, which starts in Jamaica on June 8. Set a June 1 deadline to join West Indies' pre-series camp, Narine chose to stay on in India and represent Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL final.
In a letter to WICB president Dave Cameron, Roberts said Narine's decision did not flout the board's stated "West Indies first" policy.
"I put it to you today that allowing Sunil Narine to participate in the final of the IPL on June 1 as a West Indian, as a "Trinbagonian", as an ambassador of Caribbean brilliance and then ensuring that he arrives at the West Indian training camp post haste does not, will not, and cannot breach any of the tenets of your "country first policy"," Roberts wrote.
"In fact, this addendum to the policy which may serve Sunil Narine today, will serve Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Smith, Lendl Simmons, Krishmar Santokie and any other great West Indies Cricketers in the future.
"Mr. Narine is not on holiday with his family, he is not shopping, and he is not viewing the NBA Playoffs. He is plying his professional trade in what stands as the epitome of international quality cricket in the world today.
"He is plying that trade not for himself but for the people of the Caribbean who will turn on their TV sets and tune in with 1.3 billion people across the globe to support the West Indian Sunil Narine."
Playing the IPL final, Roberts argued, would be the best way for Narine to prepare for the Test series.
"Therefore, for us to ask any player to forego the opportunity to grasp greatness to attend the first few days of a training camp is itself in breach of the very policy that it is designed to uphold, for there can be no greater preparation or training, than plying your trade at peak adrenalin, peak emotional levels, peak risk factors, peak psychological levels," Roberts wrote.
"He will face peak global scrutiny against the peak global performers in a final to be crowned the best in the world. Sunil Narine, on 1st June, will be at his peak performance level.
"So on the contrary, Mr. Sunil Narine, by clawing and fighting his way into the final is in fact ahead of the curve as compared to his other West Indies team mates in terms of preparation for the upcoming home series."
Excluding Narine from the squad, Roberts said, would hurt West Indies' chances of winning the Test series.
"Dear Sir, our beloved West Indies team … has been unable over the past decade to take twenty wickets in five days on a consistent basis. This in essence is what is needed to win a Test match," Roberts wrote.
"To achieve this, a globally respected strike bowler is required. Sunil Narine fits this bill to a "T" and is now arguably the number one bowler in the world. He is also still regarded as a mystery spinner, who the best in the world have been unable to figure out, even in this age of modern technology and systematic analysis.
"The inclusion of Sunil Narine increases the chances of the West Indies team of taking 20 wickets in five days to win a Test match."