FORMER West Indies youth captain and TT senior cricketer Zaheer Ali, does not think Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo are batting in the right position for the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
TKR are off to a disappointing start in the tournament, losing two of its first three matches which were all played at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair. TKR will play against St Lucia Stars at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia at 8 pm, tonight.
Narine, who has opened for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, has also been used as an opener for TKR with little success this season. The left-hander has scores of 17, seven and four in the three matches played so far. Ali also believes Darren, who has scores of duck, 29 and 41, should not be batting as low as number five.
In a press release yesterday, Ali said, “I agree with most commentators and supporters that there is a need to focus on the bowling and fielding concluding the recent TKR games, but I am curious of the decision to have Sunil Narine opening the batting and Darren Bravo batting at number five for the TKR. I am convinced that it is a great injustice to both players in their individual capacities and may continue to be detrimental to the TKR game strategy as the tournament progresses,” Ali said.
Ali said when Narine is dismissed early, it puts pressure on the rest of the TKR batting. “It is crucial for the management of the TKR to evaluate the decision to utilise Sunil Narine at the top of the order as part of their game strategy, which in my humble view is not generating the expected results, but is exploiting the middle order batsmen very early and giving the opposition a psychological advantage early in the innings.”
The former national cricketer says he cannot understand why Narine is opening the batting when TKR are equipped with strong batsmen.
“When you have an explosive batting line up in the names of (Brendon) McCullum, (Chris) Lynn and (Colin) Munro, who possess proper batting technique, who can score quickly and all of whom are capable of opening the TKR batting, one wonders why Sunil Narine continues to open the TKR batting. Based on the current CPL 2018 statistics, TKR are accumulating substantial totals without substantial contribution from Sunil Narine which hits the middle stump of my concern.”
Ali says Darren is a batsman who needs time to settle at the crease, and batting at five he will not have time to do so.
Ali said, “On the other hand, Darren Bravo is expected to be attacking from the first ball of his innings batting at number five, which frequently occurs in the middle and to the end of the innings most times. It is reasonable to conclude that Darren Bravo, like some other batsman, would require some time to get the pace of the wicket and rhythm to get going. It is therefore a suicide attempt every time Darren Bravo walks to the crease batting at number five in the middle and to the end of the innings when there is a high demand to score quickly. Darren Bravo if selected should be batting higher in the order to give him the best chance of producing, and consistently as well.”
Ali is confident in the ability of TKR, but new strategies must be implemented. “Notwithstanding the above, I strongly believe that TKR has the best team on paper with strong leadership. I urge my good friend and captain of the TKR Mr Dwayne Bravo and the management of TKR to stay focused and revisit their game strategies in a timely manner as the tournament progresses, to be effective against the respective opposition and in defence of their title,” Ali said.