West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard does feel that Sunil Narine would have made a huge difference had he been in the side for the ICC T20 World Cup but added that despite it being a “very, very unfortunate” thing, the defending champions were well-placed with the 15 players and reserves they have selected for the mega event.
West Indies will take on Eoin Morgan’s England in the ‘Super 12s’ later on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 T20 World Cup final where Carlos Brathwaite’s heroics turned the game on its head and the Caribbean side won the title from a hopeless situation.
Sunil Narine was the in-form player during the IPL 2021 season for Kolkata Knight Riders, playing a key role in guiding the side to the final in the UAE, though the two-time champions lost the title to Chennai Super Kings recently.
“In terms of Sunil (Narine), obviously he’s a big miss for any team. It’s something that we sort of can’t question in terms of his ability and his talent on what he has achieved, not only in the IPL, what he has done in CPL (Caribbean Premier League), what he has done over the years as a spinner, maybe one of the greatest spinners to play this format of the game. Yes, we accept it’s a big miss for us, and it’s something that as a team we would have liked to have,” said Pollard.
“It’s very, very unfortunate at this point in time, so for me it’s not a matter of trying to harp on it, but we just have to deal with what’s in front of us of not having him, and trying to just go on and move on from this.
“For us it’s a big miss, Sunil Narine being one of our West Indian cricketers doing his due all around the world, but we just have to accept the circumstances at this point in time and try to give a good account of ourselves with the 15 guys that we have here, plus the reserves,” added Pollard.
Narine had come up with a superb performance in IPL 2021 Eliminator against the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Narine took four wickets in the match, including that of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell, besides scoring a stroke-filled 26 off 15 balls.
However, Pollard had categorically said then that Narine will not be added to the 15-member squad for the World T20. Narine has not been in the West Indies side since August 2019 for several reasons — notable among them being the controversy surrounding his bowling action — and missed the cut for the T20 World Cup squad after “failing to meet Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) minimum fitness criteria”.