BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine has cleared the air on why he declined a spot on the West Indies squad for next month’s ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
The Trinidadian said while he was still interested in representing West Indies, he did not feel he was ready yet for a return to international cricket, especially after not playing any one-day matches in 2017.
Cricket West Indies said last month Narine, along with Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell, had been invited to join the the squad but had “indicated that they were unavailable to help us qualify as their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”
“It’s nothing like that,” Narine told the Massy United Insurances Line & Length TV show.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine … not yet ready to don the maroon cap again.
“I just don’t want to rush back into International cricket and the 50-over game. I think I need to play some 50-overs cricket at the regional level and get accustomed again.”
He continued: “I don’t want to rush back into it (international cricket) and make a mess of myself. I think it’s about my self-performance, self-belief and trying to go out there and perform for Trinidad & Tobago and once I can do that I will be available for West Indies again.
“I think playing for the West Indies is the ultimate goal. I think you must try and enjoy your cricket and enjoy it no matter what. So, I will see how these games go in the Super50 and if I am comfortable and enjoying it, why not, I will play for West Indies again.” Narine has played 65 One-Day Internationals for the West Indies and taken 92 wickets but last suited up for the Windies in October, 2016 in a limited overs series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
Only months earlier, he had been cleared by the International Cricket Council to resume bowling, after being slapped with a ban for an illegal bowling action in 2015.
Injuries and personal reasons kept him from any one-day appearances in 2017, despite being selected. West Indies will do battle in the March 4-25 qualifiers for one of the remaining two spots at the World Cup, and the 29-year-old Narine believes the Caribbean side will seal their qualification for the 2019 showpiece in England. “I think they can [qualify]. They have a good team,” Narine said.
“They just need to enjoy the cricket, be positive and once they are enjoying it, they can play as well as they want to.”
West Indies will play in Group A of the qualifiers against Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the winners of the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 which bowls off next week in Namibia.