EXPERIENCED off-spinner Sunil Narine was not considered for selection for the West Indies team, for the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, due to fitness reasons.
The 33-year-old Narine has not played for the West Indies since the India tour of the West Indies in 2019. But he has been a key part of the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) bowling attack during the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in St Kitts, with a haul of 11 wickets at an average of 13.90, an economy rate of 4.78 and a strike rate of 17.4.
During a zoom media conference on Thursday, shortly after the West Indies’ World Cup squad was announced, chief selector Roger Harper said, “Narine is a great miss for a team like this, in a tournament like this. (However) Sunil does not meet our fitness criteria.”
Harper added that Narine failed to pass a yo-yo test, hence his non-selection. “Unless you get a medical exemption from our medical panel, players are required to meet that 40 level in our yo-yo test,” said Harper, the former West Indies all-rounder and coach.
During the media conference, Harper also highlighted a few fitness concerns, involving players who made the 15-man WI team (including former WI captains Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo) and those who failed to earn selection (including Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith).
With regards to Gayle, Harper said, “Chris Gayle has a medical exemption so he does not have to meet the same fitness standard as some of the younger players do.”
Gayle, who will turn 42 later this month, missed a couple games during the 2021 CPL due to injury. Fellow St Kitts/Nevis Patriots player Bravo is recovering from a groin injury which he sustained a week ago.
“His injury is healing very well and (he’s expected) to be fit and bowling pretty soon,” was Harper’s take on Bravo’s recovery.
Like Narine, Rutherford and Smith did not meet Cricket West Indies’ fitness criteria.
“Rutherford finds himself in a different situation because, as well as he’s been performing, he’s one of a number of players who do not meet our fitness criteria, who’s not eligible for selection,” Harper said, while adding that Smith was also in the same predicament.