Hours after Kolkata Knight Riders snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi, their spin spearhead Sunil Narine was found to have been reported by on-field umpires for suspect bowling action. While this comes as a big dent in KKR’s plan moving forward in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, what makes it worse is that this isn’t the first time.
Narine has had issues with his action over the years. Known as one of the most sought after T20 player across the globe, Narine also has the unwanted tag of being called for a suspect action in almost all the leagues that he has played in. In fact, it was reported in the Caribbean media that he was called for a suspect action even in this edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
While there wasn’t any official communication, it did come as a surprise when Trinbago Knight Riders decided to keep their star spinner out of the playing XI in the final. Speaking after the win, Narine though played his absence down and said: “It means a lot. I would rather not play and we win. I would have loved to play but couldn’t.”
Narine stopping at ‘couldn’t’ left a lot to the imagination. But with his team lifting the title, it didn’t seem to matter much. The same though cannot be said about Kolkata Knight Riders as they are looking to slowly rise to the top end of the points table in this edition of the league.
And the sword of suspicion fell on Narine again on Saturday with the IPL release clearly saying: “Narine will be placed on the Warning List and is permitted to continue to bowl in the tournament. Another report will result in Narine being suspended from bowling in the IPL until cleared by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee.”
Efforts to get a reaction from KKR on the next course of action failed as they didn’t reply to messages.
With eight games still left to play for KKR in the group stages itself, the burden of ‘another report resulting in Narine’s suspension’ is definitely not something that either skipper Dinesh Karthik or head coach Brendon McCullum would have wanted on their shoulders.
Unfortunately, this isn’t Narine’s first tryst with action woes in the IPL. After being called in the Champions League T20 (CLT20) in 2014, the KKR spinner was called during the 2015 edition of the league and that saw him requesting for an assessment by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee and he was given the green after undergoing analysis.
“This request was received and accordingly the player underwent a third biomechanical analysis of his action at the ICC and BCCI accredited Sri Ramachandra Arthroscopy and Sports Sciences Centre (SRASSC) in Chennai – this time for his remodelled action (i.e. The one that had been cleared by the Committee immediately before the IPL season),” a BCCI media release after the episode.
“This analysis has re-confirmed the conclusion of the first Official Assessment by the Committee — namely that the remodelled action for the off-spinner does not contravene Law 24.2 (as read with Law 24.3).”
Narine was again reported during the third One Day International against Sri Lanka on November 7, 2015, in Pallekele and subsequently banned.
The ICC issued a statement in April 2016 clearing him after he underwent remedial work and retest. “The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed that following remedial work and retest, the bowling action of the West Indies’ Sunil Narine has been found to be legal, and the off-spinner can now resume bowling in both international cricket and domestic cricket events worldwide,” the ICC said.
But the reworked action troubled him and finally saw him miss the World T20 in 2016 as Narine said that he was looking to work further on his reworked action before he made a return to the field.
A former cricketer who has seen Narine closely over the years had an interesting take on the turn of events that have seen the bowler being pulled up on and off. “Bowling during a match and during biomechanical analysis are two different things,” he told ANI.
It has been six years since Narine was called before the final of the CLT20, but not much seems to have changed as he bends the arm on and off to draw the ire of match officials time and again.