DHAKA, Bangladesh, CMC – Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine knows he is a marked man but has no plans on backing down from any challenge thrown at him in the Twenty20 World Cup
For the last three years, he has tormented batsmen across the globe and he arrives here ranked as the number one bowler in the T20 format. And though he knows he will be targeted, he still plans to go about his business as usual.
“It is difficult bowling in T20 cricket especially in the first six overs but at the end of the day … if the captain has belief in you, it’s only fitting that you go out there and give it your all,” said the soft-spoken 25-year-old.
“You have to have self-belief. Bowling at these guys, they’re going to hit the ball out of the ground but you never know, they could mis-hit one and that can change a game.”
“Just knowing the guys have full faith in me gives the motivation and self belief … I just try to give my best whatever situation I have to bowl in and whatever the team requires I try to do it and as for trying something new? Not at the moment, I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible.”
Many will remember Narine’s spell in the final of the last Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, two years ago. After West Indies managed just 137 for six, Narine proceeded to cripple Sri Lanka’s run chase with a spell of three for nine from 3.4 overs.
He showed his mettle, getting the dangerous Mahela Jayawardene for 33 when he was well set, and Nuwan Kulasekara (26) who was threatening to take the game away with a cameo at the end.
Despite all the attention focussed on him, Narine believes the Windies attack is well balanced and is blessed with several potent bowlers.
“Spinners will play a key role but I think at the end of the day it will be whole team effort. I think all of our guys are keen on taking the challenge. We have a good bunch of guys going out there and we will give it our all,” Narine stressed.
“With (Samuel) Badree in the team and (Krishmar) Santokie, I think that’s a good combination. I think it sets the right tone and they tend to always pick up early wickets so it makes it easier on me later in the game.”
West Indies will be attempting to become the first team to successfully defend a T20 World title, but face stiff competition in a group that includes India, Pakistan and Australia.
However, Narine believes anything is possible once West Indies play consistent cricket throughout the March 16 to April 6 tournament.
“It’s a tough group but once you play good cricket … anything is possible. There are a lot of spinners and it’s good for the cricket to see that every team has a world class spinner and it’s better for the game,” he pointed out.
“We have a lot of experience in our team and we know exactly what we have to do. Once we go out there and do the basics right, hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
West Indies play their first warm-up today, when they face England at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah, on the outskirts of the city.