Spin king

In fewer than two months off-spinner Sunil Narine has won two Man-of-the-Series awards.In a matter of days he will be seeking to show New Zealand he is a serious threat at the Test level as well.

And, captain of the West Indies team Darren Sammy believes his team-mate is unplayable in Caribbean conditions.

Narine, who took the series honours in the April to May Indian Premier League competition with the Kolkata Knight Riders, bounced back from a difficult but short tour of England with the Player-of-the-Series performance against New Zealand. He took 13 wickets at an economy rate of 2.92 – in the 4-1 victory against New Zealand. Narine had also taken seven wickets in the two Twenty20s that preceded the ODIs and Sammy said he was “unplayable”

In England, Narine was wicketless in the Edgbaston Test that was ruined by rain, took only one wicket in two ODIs and none in the Twenty20. At home, however, his variations have led West Indies to their first ODI series victory over any team other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 2009. And he is expected to be a major weapon when the West Indies travel to the Asian Continent for the September World Twenty20 Championship.

“In our conditions, he [Narine] is unplayable. Especially, when we post a good total, knowing that I am going to get 60 balls from him. I know what he is going to do. Any situation, you can call on him, and it is good to have someone like that in your team who you can turn to at any given time. I know he is going to continue to do well for us and have a very successful career.”

Narine finished the series with a career-best haul of 5 for 27, bowling West Indies to a 20-run victory in the fifth ODI in St. Kitts.

“This is my first ODI series win for the West Indies and I’m happy it came at home in front of the home supporters,” he said. “It felt really good that they could celebrate with us. Today, I felt calm and relaxed running in to bowl. The ball came out nicely and I felt in control. Again today, the batsmen did a fantastic job to provide us with a score to bowl at.”

West Indies were in trouble at 104 for 5 in the 27th over before fifties by Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell lifted the score to 241. Narine spearheaded the defence and said that his switch to a round the wicket line for most of his spell had troubled the batsmen.

“I spoke to the coach [Ottis Gibson] and we looked at a few new ideas about how to attack the batsmen,” Narine said. “He suggested that I could look at some more variety and I went into the nets and worked hard at how I could come from around the wicket and look to get the ball to ‘pitch on’. As you saw today [yesterday], it worked wonders as I got wickets from around the wicket. That is something I will definitely work on in the coming weeks.”

Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, also said Narine was the difference between the two teams in the series and his side would need to find ways to counter him in the Tests.

“Most sides, when they need 50 off 40, they are going to get there at a canter, but when you have Narine in there, it is a bit of a struggle as you have to score runs off him and the other bowlers,” Taylor said.

“He was the difference today [yesterday] on that wicket with three big wickets. It was big in the context of the match.”

The West Indies coach Ottis Gibson was satisfied at his team’s success in the ODI and Twenty20 series after the disappointment in England.

“In England – where we had pretty much the same side – we didn’t do that well and questions were asked,” he said. “It was really good to see how the guys have returned home and answered those questions with some good performances.

“Almost everyone put his hand up and put in a strong performance when it was required. As a team we are happy with the series results and we look to take the momentum on from here.” (Cricinfo/WG)

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