Shakib: Narine still KKR's lead bowler

Shakib Al Hasan, Kolkata Knight Rider's allrounder, expressed confidence that offspinner Sunil Narine, who was cleared to bowl by the ICC, will play a leading role in his team's campaign this IPL season.

Sunil Narine is a vital cog in KKR's wheel, says Shakib Al Hasan.   -  Vivek Bendre

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) camp on Friday heaved a sigh of relief after the International Cricket Council (ICC) cleared offspinner Sunil Narine’s reworked bowling action.

Even though Narine, who recently returned to the West Indies following his father’s death, might not be available for KKR’s first Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Delhi Daredevils at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday, his name getting cleared prior to the tournament was a confidence booster for the two-time champion side.

It will be interesting to see whether Narine, who took 74 wickets in four Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons and played a key role in KKR winning the title in 2012 and 2014, retains his effectiveness in spite of the modification in his action.

“I cannot say what all he (Narine) has changed to his bowling. But it is a big relief not only to me but to the entire team. He is a vital cog in KKR's wheel. He has always played a great role in KKR's success. So, it is a big positive for us,” said KKR allrounder Shakib Al Hasan here.

'World class'

Lending his support for Narine, who was reported during the third one-day international against Sri Lanka at Pallekele on November 7 and was tested at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on March 28, Shakib said the experienced Caribbean would be able to prove his utility.

“I do not think it matters much for a quality spinner like Narine. Everyone knows he is a world class bowler and batsmen give him the respect. I still think he will lead the pack.”

About KKR’s strengths, Shakib said the side, under new coach Jacques Kallis, looked stronger than ever. “We gel well. We all are focussed and up for the challenge… We want to take one match at a time. First two matches are very important for us. It will be a big plus if we win the away matches and return for the home leg.”

On his switch-over from the World T20 to the IPL, the Bangladeshi allrounder said, “It was disappointing for Bangladesh but the good thing about Twenty20 is past does not hold much say in the present.”