West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine has been cleared by the International Cricket Council to return to cricket following a ban for an illegal bowling action but may yet miss the beginning of the Indian Premier League.
Narine was reported during a One-Day International against Sri Lanka in Pallekele last November and subsequently banned until he could bowl all of his deliveries with his arm not exceeding the 15-degree level of tolerance.
At the time of the sanction, he was the No.1 ranked T20 bowler in the world and the West Indies originally included Narine in their squad for the World T20 in India, however he was later ruled out of the tournament after making “insufficient progress” on his remodelled bowling action.
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While his IPL side, the Kolkata Knight Riders, will be delighted to have him available – he’s taken 67 wickets at 16 for them over the past three editions of the IPL despite other suspensions from the ICC over his bowling action – the 27-year-old may not play in their opening match against Delhi, after returning home to Trinidad due to his father’s death.
"Unfortunately, he lost a family member, his dad passed away so he's gone back," former South African allrounder and new KKR coach Jacques Kallis said. "We are certainly not putting any pressure on him to get back yet.
“It's something that I have been through and know how tough a time it is so we are not putting any pressure (on him). When he's right and he feels he is ready to play cricket he will come to us."
Narine was briefly banned during last year’s IPL by the BCCI, India’s governing body, from bowling his off-spinner (his other deliveries were deemed legal) but was cleared to return a week later with a “final warning”.
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The BCCI, it was understood, believed Narine was bowling his off-break with extra flex in his elbow, effectively meaning he had abandoned the remodelled bowling action he developed after being reported during the 2014 Champions League T20 tournament.
Kolkata possess a number of potent spin options, with evergreen Australian Brad Hogg, Bangladesh allrounder Shakib al Hasan and Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, along with Narine, all set to battle for spots.