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T&T sports minister pleads Narine's case

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 1, 2014

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Sunil Narine picked up a wicket and was reliably economical, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2014, Hyderabad, May 18, 2014
Leaving out Sunil Narine, according to T&T sports minister Anil Roberts, will hurt West Indies' chances of winning the Test series against New Zealand © BCCI
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by LabMan on (June 5, 2014, 15:01 GMT)

Normally I would agree choosing any other cricket over the West Indies cricket deserve some kind of discipline. But we have to consider the circumstances which Sunil Narine had to consider. This was a final, his first, he is considered one of the most essential players for KKR so his game was guaranteed. Plus he would have missed the deadline by only a day or two. Not enough time to make a difference in preparations. Imagine you fighting so hard for an entire season and not being there for its completion. I think it was an unfair request. If it wasn't the last game then I would have empathized with the board.

But rules are rules. So if a punishment have to be levied then a one match band would have been suffice. But not to be considered for selection for the test series is harsh. Especially for a talent like Narine who needs test match exposure to improve his Test game. We are hindering our development by or myopic view on things. We need to look at the bigger picture.

Posted by pandian_ikku on (June 3, 2014, 8:35 GMT)

Narine shouldn't allow to play. Let him learn a lesson.

Posted by shemozzle on (June 3, 2014, 3:04 GMT)

1.gayle 2.powell 3.bravo 4.samuels 5.chanderpaul 6.bravo 7.pollard 8.ramdin 9.narine 10.taylor 11.roach

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 21:52 GMT)

I think here is where the other teams have the biggest edge over the West Indies. We make so many exceptions for our "STAR" players, while we treat our base players as if without the STARS the TEAM is incapable a hypothesis that breathes insularity and lacks commonsense. A TEAM is what wins a game with each player contributing his BEST! Sunil Narine has starred in limited overs not Test. I think that the BOARD should keep to its policies as long as they are reasonable and does not EXCLUDE anyone because of ClASS! There are three tests and Narine can STARR in the remaining 2! All other teams allow their players to play in the IPL but when they have major series they are called home whether or not their teams are in the finals!

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 18:30 GMT)

the ipl window created by the WIBC should have catered for the final!!! to ask a player to abandon the final does not make much sense...wibc should rethink this..

Posted by drtrinileggie on (June 2, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

The only person worth watching was Narine. No one else.

Posted by StevieS on (June 2, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

Rally_Windies no it is always and should be team first, a team wins games not an individual.

Posted by anver777 on (June 2, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

KKR's main bowling weapon Narine was off colored in the IPL Final... dropped Saha's catch & his bowling was very expensive.... may be WI selection issues for NZ series was disturbing him !!!!

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 2:11 GMT)

I must commend the minister for his beautifully written letter.I am a lover of this great game, and at no time would I compromise wrong doings to bend or break the rules,thus bringing disrespect or disrepute to this great sport.I have read through every line and have concluded with all sincerity that the minister is right.He Sunil Narine was not on vacation,he was playing cricket to the highest level.His excellence as the world's greatest 20/20 bowler and beyond has seen his team winning the finals of the IPL.His intention like all other West Indians and participants of this great competition was to win.Those W/Indians who played in the competition and were eligible for selection in the test series got back because their teams failed to reach the final.This is a case where judgement is important.Playing him is intelligence put into act.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 1:56 GMT)

Another case of the Board not using common sense. They are playing for New Zealand. Their policies somehow always seem to help out the opposition. Narine and Shillingford bowling in tandem will bowl out any opposition.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2014, 0:18 GMT)

Looking at this situation from both angles, I believe both parties have valid arguments but I believe that the WICB should be making this decision based on what is best for West Indies cricket and at this point excluding Sunil Narine puts our team in a weak position. I would like to remind the board that only winning will increase our points to move us up in test rankings. So I believe that our most obvious spin bowling treat should be allowed to play.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (June 1, 2014, 19:35 GMT)

WICB should have a policy "players 1st" ...

Posted by Ncnotorious on (June 1, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

How do you set an ipl window and not factor in the final? Do you not have confidence in your west indian players to reach the final? We need the best 11 to win matches, and Narine is part of our best 11.

Posted by Metro-ant on (June 1, 2014, 14:53 GMT)

As much as I admire Narine as a spinner and a great reader of the game I applaud West Indies Cricket for their strict policy regarding test cricket. The same thing happened to Sri Lanka when they let seniors arrive late on tours to accommodate their IPL commitments such as Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan etc and we all know which direction their test ranking went. The legacy left behind by players lke Richards, Roberts and Holding is simply not there if more and more players choose t20 tournaments ahead of playing for the Windies.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

There we go again. Blinded by LAWS. Laws are put to serve certain circumstances at certain times. This LAW should be revisited to suit the situation as it is right now.Narine should be allowed to play the tests if he wants to do so.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 13:40 GMT)

Nadeem1976 you shold google Anil Roberts

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (June 1, 2014, 13:39 GMT)

Will the same be applied if certain top WI players were to be involved in the final of a domestic T20 say in SL, ZIM&SA?

Posted by BlakeHoulihan on (June 1, 2014, 13:33 GMT)

I think Narine will end up playing, his record against NZ is outstanding and lower ranking teams like NZ and West Indies cannot afford to be picky. If his IPL team wasn't in the final, he would already be with the squad.

Posted by vippra on (June 1, 2014, 13:26 GMT)

It is quite amazing and shameful that a Minister is supporting Narine !

When a Cricket Player decides to play for MONEY and not for his COUNTRY then he deserves to be BANNED from ever playing for his country.

Playing for one's COUNTRY is the ultimate accolade for a Cricketer, but it is certainly not the case with Narine.

The WICB must stick to its decision.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

I support Narine's Decision to prefer IPL final over The Camp, Because He is a professional Cricketer. No Match is Small, & IPL final is a very Big Commitment for the Biggest Match winner of the Team. WICB should Reconsider their policy and let Him Play Bcoz He will be very Important for the Team. Policies are made for people, people are not made for the Policies.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 1, 2014, 13:09 GMT)

that is nice work by T&T minister. WI board eyes are closed and they are just trying to enforce an extremely wrong rule on their best players. Narine is T2020 specialist and best IPL bowler ever. If he is not going to play IPL final then no body deserve it. WI should be proud of Narine the way he keep WI cricket alive in Indian but they are trying to make his life difficult without any big issue.

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