Sunil Narine recently received a vote of confidence from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan. The English skipper backed the Trinidadian spinner to come good with both bat and ball ahead of his side’s opening encounter against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Eoin Morgan also compared Sunil Narine to Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan, who has been one of the most consistent all-rounders in international cricket over the past decade. Morgan highlighted how KKR has often banked on Narine to deliver in tough situations.
“Shakib and Sunil Narine are no different. In big moments of the game, particularly last year, you would throw Sunil the ball, or you would get him in with the bat because he has been in that situation over and over again. He believes in himself and in the team to go and get through and win that situation.” said the KKR skipper.
Sunil Narine has been a stalwart for KKR over the years and played a key role in their two title wins in 2012 & 2014. However, his performance has been on a downward trajectory ever since his bowling action came under the scanner. Even last season, the bowler was reprimanded by the umpires for a suspected bowling action.
Last season, Sunil Narine could only pick up five wickets in 10 games, conceding runs at an economy of 7.94. Narine’s batting has also come to the fore in the past few years, but he only averaged 13.44 with the bat in the last IPL.
“Shakib Al Hasan gives us a different dynamic in the team”- Eoin Morgan might be looking to replace Narine with Shakib
The KKR skipper also acknowledged the importance of having Shakib Al Hasan in the roster, especially when all teams are set to play their games at neutral venues. Morgan is confident that the Bangladesh all-rounder will be able to deliver when called upon.
“Given that we have a bit more travel this year and we go from venue to venue, it’s important to have strength and depth in the squad. Shakib Al Hasan gives us a different dynamic in the team. Given that we play at different venues where the conditions change quite a lot, you have a spin-bowling all-rounder who had success in international cricket and IPL at different stages. If called upon, he can definitely deliver,” Morgan added.
KKR will kickstart their campaign today against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai. The Kolkata franchise got the better of SRH in both their encounters last season. However, SRH finished third in the table in the IPL 2020, while KKR missed out on the playoff spot based on their inferior net run rate.