Really difficult to fathom

AP

Mystery spinner Sunil Narine, after a lean spell, was back at his best for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL opener against Delhi Daredevils. An analysis by Amitabha Das Sharma.

There cannot be a better resurrection for Sunil Narine than becoming the man of the match in the first tie in the sixth season of the Indian Premier League.

Narine had gone into near oblivion after being hailed as the ‘mystery bowler’ in his IPL debut last season for the Kolkata Knight Riders. The bowler of Indian origin from Trinidad and Tobago presented the most beguiling style among the new generation bowlers and turned out to be the surprise weapon that eventually gave the Knight Riders its maiden title. But for his national team — West Indies — he had mixed luck in the other formats of the game.

Just when people were about to write off the mystery surrounding his uncommon grip and style of delivery, Narine has re-emerged to make the Delhi Daredevils bite the dust at the Eden Gardens. The Daredevils were visibly mortified by his guile as Narine picked up four for 13 in his allotted four overs. The target of 129 was easily overhauled by home side.

Much like his economical bowling average in the tournament, Narine has a frugal way of using words. “While bowling, I just concentrate on the variations and try to keep them in the right areas. It is a privilege that the captain (Gambhir) uses me as an attacking bowler,” Narine said as he stepped up to receive the prize-money after being adjudged the best player of the opening match. “I am not an intimidating bowler, I just go and try to give my best,” Narine added.

Well, what will bowling coach Brett Lee teach Narine? Your guess is as good as ours.-K.R. DEEPAK

“Indian wickets suit spinners a lot and that is helping my style. I am just enjoying the moment and hopefully I can continue doing so,” the spearhead of KKR attack said. “They have a trump card called Sunil Narine. He will again create an impact this season,” Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain, said after seeing Narine bowl in the match.

“The most important thing is to finish off well. It was very important to keep Sunil for the last three overs, where he created the difference. He got the momentum in our favour,” was how the winning captain, Gambhir, put it. “He is a class bowler and bowled pretty well. Most of our boys had not played Sunil and it was a bit of tough for them,” said the Delhi Daredevils captain Mahela Jayawardene. The best comments about Narine came from his West Indies teammate Andre Russell, who had spoken about the hardships that his own team (Delhi Daredevils) would face, a couple of days ahead of the opener. “He (Narine) is really difficult to play. You can’t really play big shots to him. You don’t know which way the ball is going to turn from his action,” Russell had said. “It is very important not to lose wickets. It will be easier if you are one for 30 from him than losing four wickets.

You can always take on the other bowlers to bridge the gap,” Russell had cautioned. The Daredevils and Russell, who was one of Narine’s four victims in the match, could not, however, counter the Knight they feared most and he ran amok.