TRINBAGO KNIGHT Riders skipper Kieron Pollard has paid tribute to his pivotal knight on the Caribbean Premier League chessboard - Sunil Narine.
The wily off-spinner has missed five matches in the 2019 tournament with a finger injury, including the last three of the preliminary phase. Narine's injury and absence, unsurprisingly, has coincided with a TKR slump, losing five straight matches before the playoffs,
Returning to the team today against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the National Stadium, Providence, Narine showed he's the master of his craft, even when less than 100 per cent fit.
He finished with impeccable figures of two wickets for ten runs from four overs.
While lauding his ace off-spinner, Pollard said Narine is playing in excruciating pain.
"He showed he's a world class bowler. It showed why as a management team we persisted in having him in the squad and not replacing him. He showed his mettle. He was in a lot of pain but he came out and (knowing) what it meant for us and what we wanted to achieve. All credit must go to him the way that he bowled in such excruciating pain."
Patriots captain Carlos Brathwaite acknowledged the impact of Narine on the result.
He said, "Obviously, we know why he played. Obviously not close to 100 per cent but he's a world class player. He hasn't only done it to us, he's done it to teams and players around the world and in different conditions."
Asked whether his batsmen showed too much respect to Narine, Brathwaite said, "We were a little too timid but cricket is a funny game. You can sit and say we too timid but we could have gone out (aggressive and be) five for ten or 11. It's just not a good batting performance, it wasn't just the Sunil spell. We didn't have a blitz at the back end and we didn't have a good start. Credit to their bowlers and the fielding unit."
Despite the defeat, Brathwaite said St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are moving in the right direction.
"All I continue to ask is we continue to support the team. We had a period where we didn't qualify at all. We made the finals (in 2017) and over the last two years, including this one, we've made the final four. So that's progression. The next chance is to become a fixture in the final and eventually win it."