In a country long bereft of quality spinners, Sunil Narine might just be the find of the century for the West Indies. After watching him throughout the KFC T20 Big Bash League, it is hard to find enough superlatives to describe the Trinidadian tweaker. The way he grips the ball is strangely unique, with Narine often altering fingers with the ball in hand. Given the constant grip changes, it is amazing to see him control the ball (often a new one at that) with such ease.
After winning the Caribbean T20 League with Trinidad & Tobago, Narine burst onto the scene with an impressive display at the inaugural Champions League Trophy in India. The inexperienced spinner was far from overawed and constantly bamboozled opposition batsmen. He finished up with ten wickets at an economy rate of just 4.37.
Narine made his ODI debut against India in Ahmedabad; the scene of his recent CLT triumph. He took three wickets in his three game stint, including two on debut. Narine continued to dominate wherever he went, and finished leading wicket taker in both the four day and one day tournaments in the West Indies.
The 2011/12 season was a prosperous time in Narine’s career. After snaring a team high 11 wickets in the five game ODI series against Australia, Narine was handed a mammoth $700,000 contract by the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. It appeared to be a huge risk from the Knight Riders, as Narine had only played a handful of games for the Windies. However, the gamble soon paid off, as Narine spun the team to IPL glory. His 24 wickets at under six runs an over earned him the Player of the Tournament and a very handy cash bonus.
Narine is still developing the discipline required for Test cricket. With just five caps under his belt, he is still a novice, but he has already impressed with a five wicket haul against the Kiwis.
The impending tour of Australia should suit Narine, who has excelled in the white ball forms of the game. His 37 wickets in ODI’s have come at just 3.79 runs an over, and include a career best 5/27, also against the Black Caps. Narine was a part of Trinidad & Tobago’s winning squad during this month’s Caribbean T20 League. While he only took five wickets, he proved very difficult to score against.
Australian batsmen mustn’t be mesmerised by the man who can spin a ball three ways. They will need to go after him early to stop him settling into an unplayable rhythm.