Kona Kona Cricket Articles

22nd October 2020

The Sunil Narine experiment is past its expiry date

The first four times Kolkata played in the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League, Sunil Narine opened the batting. His returns? 9, 0, 15 and 3. Before the start of the season, Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik had hailed Sunil Narine's uncomplicated batting style as a perfect complement to that of Shubman Gill. 

Narine was first used as an opener by the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, but while that experiment was a one-off, Kolkata started giving him consistent chances at the top with roaring success. The West Indian would swing through the line in the powerplay or go aerial over the square boundaries and fetch Kolkata big runs in the first six overs when the fielding restrictions were on. 

The rise of overs by spin bowlers in the powerplay in the Indian T20 League coincided with Narine's elevation as opener. A powerful spin hitter, Narine would take the powerplay spinners on while leaving the pace-hitting to Chris Lynn. The difference in the two batsmen's strengths worked perfectly for Kolkata.

This was until teams figured out that Narine could be kept silent by pace bowlers aiming for his throat. Narine's returns since the discovery have been significantly less. His last half-century in the Indian T20 League came way back in 2018 when he made a 36-ball 75. 

Since then, and until this date (October 7), Narine has only crossed 30 once. He hasn't crossed 30 across all leagues more than four times since that last half-century in the Indian T20 League. These are expected numbers for a pinch-hitter, but that's not how Kolkata have been seeing Narine.

He has been consistently used at the top and with no Lynn - who has a weakness against spin - opposition teams don't need to bowl spin at Narine at all. He has been constantly peppered with short balls and the results have been drastic for Kolkata. 

In their last game against Delhi, Narine actually opened despite Kolkata having a seasoned opener in Rahul Tripathi in the team. Tripathi came in way lower down the order at no.8 and actually shone with a handy knock while Narine struggled. With the middle-order also packed with big hitters, it is time Kolkata moved Narine back down the order or use him in a way Rajasthan Royals have been using Rahul Tewatia - as a floater capable of hitting spin in the middle overs.

  • 12th November 2020

    Tushar Deshpande - a mother’s dream fulfilled
    Read more
  • 11th November 2020

    South Africans dominate Indian T20 League with match-winning showings
    Read more
  • 11th November 2020

    Son of a daily wage labourer, T Natarajan has lit up the league with his yorkers
    Read more
  • 10th November 2020

    Rishabh Pant, the domestic giant goes missing
    Read more
  • 6th November 2020

    Week 5 - Hundreds, Collapses and intensity as playoffs race gains momentum
    Read more
  • 3rd November 2020

    Fearlessness and grit - Gen Next leave their mark in this year’s Indian T20 season
    Read more
  • 27th October 2020

    Closest Indian T20 league matches
    Read more
  • 27th October 2020

    Rahul Tripathi - the opener KKR should persist with
    Read more
  • 22nd October 2020

    Week 3 - Near-miss Mankad and the emergence of ‘Rahuls’
    Read more
  • 16th October 2020

    Top moments from Week 2
    Read more
  • 14th October 2020

    Top three Super Overs in the history of the League
    Read more
  • 9th October 2020

    Highest run-chases in the Indian T20 League
    Read more
  • 9th October 2020

    Abdul Samad, the latest big-hitter from Jammu and Kashmir
    Read more
  • 9th October 2020

    Rahul Tewatia - Rajasthan Royals’ villain-turned-hero
    Read more
  • 9th October 2020

    Week 1 of the Indian T20 League 2020
    Read more
  • 9th October 2020

    Grounds and numbers
    Read more

Disclaimer: This editorial content has been sourced from HoldingWilley