‘Been whispering in his ears’ – Powell is trying to get Narine to play T20 World Cup

West Indies
Is Sunil Narine being coaxed into coming out of international retirement for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA that follows IPL 2024?
Three nights ago, Narine, who had announced his international retirement in November 2023, was dead certain he’d be watching the tournament from home. But on Tuesday night, after hitting a magnificent century to power Kolkata Knight Riders to 223 for 6, Narine gave an inkling of that stance changing.

“It is what it is, but let’s see what the future holds,” Narine said after the match when asked if he’d reconsider his decision to retire.

After the match, Rovman Powell, West Indies’ T20I captain, revealed he’d been trying to change Narine’s mind through every channel possible.

“For the last 12 months, I’ve been whispering in his (Narine’s) ears, but he’s blocked out everyone,” Powell said when asked about trying to convince Narine to reverse his decision. “I’ve asked [Kieron] Pollard, [Dwayne] Bravo, [Nicholas] Pooran. Hopefully, before they select the team, they can crack his code.”

Powell himself was a key contributor to the game, hitting 26 off 13 at a crucial time of the chase. He came into his own in the 17th over, when he took apart Narine for a four and two back-to-back sixes in a 16-run over that left Royals needing 46 off the back three.

They eventually got home off the last delivery when Jos Buttler, who struck his second century of the competition, heaved Harshit Rana’s slower ball into the leg side with the scores level.

Powell was one of Royals’ big-ticket auction signings at INR 7.4 crore, but opportunities have been far and few. Tuesday at the Eden Gardens was just his second outing with the bat this season, but he was all praise for the team management.

“The morale in the team is very good, even when I am not playing the communication has been very good and as an international player, I really appreciate when the communication is precise and clear,” he said. “The guys are in good space and long may that continue.”

Powell was also asked tongue-in-cheek if he’d been whispering into Kumar Sangakkara’s [director of cricket] ear about a batting promotion.

“I told them, ‘hey, I bat at No. 4 or 5 for West Indies and if you think West Indies is a good T20 side, then you can push me up the order,” he said with a chuckle. “We have got a few days off now and I will keep ringing it in their (the management) ears.”

Powell likened the emotions at the end to that of a roller-coaster ride as Royals pulled off IPL’s highest successful chase. He also revealed he went out to bat with not set plans of taking down spin, and was merely reacting to the situation.

“The emotions are all over the place at the moment,” he said. “I didn’t plan to take on Sunil, I knew he’s their best bowler, but when it comes down to 80 off 30, you have to take your chances. I backed my strengths, took my chances and came off today.”

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