Captain Kieron Pollard has categorically denied that in-form spinner Sunil Narine will be added to the 15-member West Indies squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 despite he is in sublime form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL 2021).
On Monday, October 11, Narine reminded the fans of his vintage past, as the 33-year-old came up with a superb all-around performance in the Eliminator of the ongoing IPL 2021 against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Sharjah.
The spinner snared four wickets besides scoring a stroke-filled 26 off 15 balls to power KKR to Qualifier 2 to keep his team’s hopes alive of a third IPL title. He has been in stunning form in the UAE, taking 11 wickets in 8 games for the KKR in the second half of the IPL 14.
However, Narine has not played international cricket since August 2019 and missed out on the West Indies squad for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 after failing to meet their minimum fitness criteria.
With the deadline for the changes in the T20 World Cup squads set to end on Friday (October 15), Pollard refused to further comment on Narine’s non-inclusion and hinted that there would not be any changes to the 15-man squad for T20 World Cup, starting on October 17 in the UAE.
Pollard told ESPNCricinfo: “If I add my two cents or my words on how his non-inclusion came about, then it could be spun – just like how he’s bowling on these Sharjah wickets – in all different directions. Let’s deal with the fifteen guys that we have here at this moment in time, which is more important, and see if we can rally around these guys and see if we can defend our title.”
He added, “I’ve no comments on that. Enough has been said on that. I think persons have explained the reason of his non-inclusion at this point in time. For me personally, I know Sunil Narine as a friend first, before an international cricketer. We grew up playing cricket together. He is a world-class cricketer.”
However, Pollard said he hoped to have “a fit Andre Russell” for the T20 World Cup 2021 but said clarity was unlikely until he joined up with the West Indies camp, as the all-rounder is recovering from a hamstring injury and has not played any IPL 14 game since September 26 in the UAE.
He signed off by saying, “Before I make any assumptions as to what he can or he can’t do, we need to do our assessment first as a team. We haven’t had the opportunity to see him. We’ve gotten reports as to what he has done. I wouldn’t want to get into trying to say what he can or can’t do at this point in time. He’s a critical person for our team and we’d love for him to be 100%, but we have to deal with what’s in front of us.”