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Narine available for ‘Red Force’

By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Thursday, May 16 2013

The exit of Sunil Narine’s Kolkota Knight Riders from the Indian Premier League yesterday has made the wily off-spinner now available for selection by the Trinidad and Tobago team for the upcoming 2013 Champions League Twenty20, which bowls off in India in September.

Currently seventh on the IPL standings, Narine’s squad is certain to fall short of the semi-final stages. However, his early exit has opened an inspiring window for the national team’s progress in the forthcoming Champions League. Now available for selection, Narine will be a major asset towards the team’s line-up ahead of the annual competition.

Speaking with Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board executive member, Suruj Ragoonath, yesterday, he revealed that Narine’s inclusion will surely be a boost to the “Red Force”.

“He’s a world class player and is rated as the number one T20 bowler in the world. He will surely be a great addition to the squad for the Champions League. Any team that has the availability of an athlete such as Narine will be sure to make full use of his skill and experience as a quality spin bowler,” he said.

However, the national squad will have to do without the likes of all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper, big-hitter Kieron Pollard and Samuel Badree, who have all confirmed their places in the semi-final stages of the IPL.

Currently, Pollard’s Mumbai Indians are atop the standings on 22 points with a net run rate of +0.640, Bravo’s Chennai Super Kings are in runner-up position on 22pts (NRR +0.625) while Badree and Cooper’s Rajasthan Royals sit in third place.

TT will be closely monitoring the progress of Royal Challengers Bangalore who have the services of pacer Ravi Rampaul. Bangalore are in fourth spot, but can be displaced by Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Competing against the world’s best without the likes of these key players, TT are expected to face an uphill task at the September tournament. But Ragoonath remained confident and revealed that the “Red Force” will do their best with every player that is made available.

“Despite which players are available or not, we will ensure that the strongest and most fit team is selected for the Champions League. We are more or less accustomed to playing games with some players short, but we are intent on putting on a good showing with the best players we have,” he added.

In a short interview with national selector and former TT all-rounder, Roland Sampath, he also expressed delight in the Narine’s availability. However, he reiterated the importance of the experience and wit of the missing IPL representatives.

“Narine is one of the most respected T20 bowlers in the world and he will do us proud in the Champions League. But, when you really look at it, half of this nation’s best players will be unavailable. Pollard, Cooper, Badree and Bravo are main contributors and their absence could be costly. We will have to wait and see what happens, but Narine’s inclusion will be more than accepted by local cricket fans,” he concluded.

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