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Ban all wrong

Lloyd goes to bat for Narine

MUMBAI – Clive Lloyd, the chairman of the West Indies selection panel, has said the decision on whether Sunil Narine remains in India for West Indies’ upcoming limited-overs series’ will be made in consultation with the WICB “in a day or so”.

Narine was suspended from bowling in the Champions League Twenty20 yesterday, and is ineligible to play in the tournament’s final tomorrow.

Suggesting that corrective measures to his action, if any were needed, should have been made earlier, Lloyd questioned the timing of Narine’s suspension, saying the decision could be “destroying” to Narine and affect the team’s chances on the forthcoming tour of India and in the World Cup.

Sunil Narine.

Sunil Narine.

From October 8, West Indies will play five ODIs and a T20 against India, before three Tests. Narine’s bowling ban is restricted only to the Champions League and other BCCI-run tournaments like the IPL, but it is sure to increase scrutiny on him in international cricket as well.

Clive Lloyd

Clive Lloyd

“We will have to take that decision in a day or so. I am very disappointed because he is an exciting cricketer,” Lloyd said today at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, where West Indies played a warm-up game. “The point is, just like [Muttiah] Muralitharan, because your action is different, doesn’t mean that you are throwing.

“We have to take a look at things and assess the situation. We don’t want to make any rash decision as such. We will discuss it. The board [WICB] will probably take it from there. We will have to inform the board. We can’t take decisions just like that. They have to be informed.”

It is understood that the decision will be arrived at before October 6, when the West Indies squad leaves Mumbai for Kochi, which will host the first ODI.

Lloyd said the WICB and the West Indies team management had been told that Narine would be under the scanner in India by a source whose identity he would not disclose.

“Before we came here we were told that they were going to call Narine, so it’s quite obvious that something must have been said somewhere,” he said. “I really can’t tell you that [who it was] but I can tell you it’s a highly reliable source, because we have to make contingency plans for things like that just in case it happens,” Lloyd said, adding that the West Indies cricket fraternity would back Narine.

Lamenting the timing of the suspension, “just before an important series against India and the World Cup that follows”, Lloyd said he could not really understand the need to raise questions over the legality of Narine’s action when “he has been bowling in the same manner” for years.

“He has been bowling over the years with the same sort of action. Now all of a sudden it has changed. What has changed, I don’t know,” Lloyd said. “You can’t just ban him from bowling just before an important tour like this and with the World Cup coming up. It destroys the individual’s ability as such and I think you may end up destroying someone’s career.

“This guy has been doing well playing for KKR for the last three years. If you look at his action, he has been doing pretty much the same and I want to know what is it that has been found that they ban him and not say something like, ‘Listen, you have a bit of a problem and you have to rectify it.’”

Lloyd compared the situation with that of Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who has been suspended from bowling in international cricket.

“All of a sudden, this guy [Narine] who is supposed to be one of the best bowlers around – like Ajmal for that matter, how many Test wickets does Ajmal have? – and all of a sudden his bowling action is suspect. My point is something should be done before all this comes to this point.

“It can destroy a team. You want to know if this is being orchestrated because if you lose your main bowler then it puts some pressure on the selectors and the team and so on.”

Lloyd also questioned the Champions League T20 regulations and procedure, which has proven to be rather ambiguous.

“Nobody has told us anything. Nobody has written a letter. That is the thing about it. Something should be said to us. We are left high and dry. All of a sudden, the guy is not playing in a tournament he has played for the last three years. What are you then saying about the tournament then? Are you saying that the tournament has probably previously allowed people who have got bad actions to play?”

Asked if the ICC, which has been tightlipped over the issue since it doesn’t govern the Champions League, should step in and get in touch with the WICB, Lloyd sad he hoped it happened soon.

“I think it’s wrong the way they have gone about it and I have been involved in the ICC for years [as a match referee and technical committee chief] and I think you cannot just ban a guy just like that. This is a guy who has played for us all over the world, not only in the West Indies. All of a sudden, this guy has got a suspect action. I am not happy, I would like to strongly say that.”

Kumar Dharmasena, a leading umpire on the ICC Elite Panel, has been involved in three of the four cases of suspect actions being reported in Champions League. So, Lloyd said, he was not sure if that indirectly meant Narine would be reported in international cricket. With the ICyC taking a hard stance on illegal actions in the last six months, the WICB is likely to be wary. Ian Gould, another Elite Panel umpire, will be one of the match officials for the ODI series in India. Gould was among the umpires who reported offspinners Sachithra Senanayake and Ajmal, both of whom were later banned from bowling in international cricket, earlier this year.


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