Narine claims he was mocked by Trinidad official for 'pelting'
West Indies offspinner Sunil Narine has written to the National League Representatives (NLR) asking for an independent probe into whether an email that mocked him for "pelting" was sent by Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath.
Narine, who was banned from bowling in international cricket on November 29, had undergone biometric testing at Loughborough University after being reported for a suspect action during the third ODI of West Indies' tour of Sri Lanka earlier that month.
In his letter to the six-member NLR, a copy of which has been seen by ESPNcricinfo, Narine claimed that Bassarath's email had been sent on the very same day as his ban to various TTCB officials, including executive member Baldath Mahabir.
"If indeed the letter came from Mr Bassarath and I have to stress the 'if' right now, it seems that he must have long believed that my bowling action was illegal," Narine wrote.
"There was such venom and almost joy in my being suspended that was evident in the email which said, "Let him start to Bowl !!!!!! He was not turning much in d first place!!!!! Straight ball and faster one all the time. !!!! PELTING !!!!!!!"
But in a TTCB media release sent this week Bassarath strongly denied he had sent the alleged email. Bassarath also stressed that he would take legal recourse if the email was attributed to his name in the local media.
In the immediate aftermath of his suspension, Narine claimed to have received a sympathetic email from TTCB chief executive Sooraj Ragoonath, a copy of which was sent to Bassarath, extending the board's support to the offspinner and, soon afterwards, inviting Narine to play in the Nagico Super 50, the regional ODI tournament in which he had been the leading wicket-taker last year.
However on December 18, Ragoonath wrote back, saying the WICB would not allow "any person who is debarred by the ICC" to participate in regional tournaments until cleared and that the TTCB had withdrawn Narine from the one-day squad. Narine was subsequently barred from entering the T&T players' enclosure by the ground security at Queen's Park Oval.
"It was a time of extreme stress for me and I was grateful when I received an email from Suruj Ragoonath, the CEO of the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board, which contained the promise to provide me 'with all the necessary support' and invited me to a meeting to discuss how the TTCB could assist me and to get an idea of the support I would require," Narine wrote.
Instead, Narine said that he was taken totally aback on learning that the TTCB was contemplating banning him from bowling in club cricket in T&T. At a TTCB meeting chaired by Bassarath, Narine said, "An attempt was made to change the rules of the national tournament to prevent players suspended by the ICC from participating at the national level."
Responding to Narine's allegation, Bassarath, through a TTCB release titled 'Email link denied', issued by the board's media manager, stated, "Mr Bassarath wishes to totally disassociate himself from the alleged email currently making the rounds and which is being pronounced upon to suggest that it is authentic.
"The president of the TTCB reserves the right to seek legal recourse to clear his name should the alleged email be attributed to him in reports carried in the local media," the release read.
Narine concluded, "Even though I seem to have been denied natural justice by the writer of the email which accused me of "pelting", I believe that an independent investigation should be undertaken to determine, if it was not Mr Bassarath himself, who indeed was the person who sent the Emails using Mr Bassarath's known and familiar email address as well as Mr Baldath Mahabir."
The NLR comprises six members elected by the local T&T clubs, and they sit on the TTCB. The members of the NLR are: Dinanath Ramnarine, Daren Ganga, Giles Antoine, Andre Lawrence, Anil Kamal and Clint Pamphille.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo