With Eoin Morgan leading Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) right from the onset of the season in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, there were bound to be some aggressive decisions on show. And the first one came in their opening contest against SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday.
Morgan fielded veteran Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan ahead of their seasoned campaigner Sunil Narine, hinting that the West Indies' bowling all-rounder might be seen on the bench more often than not this season.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy who successfully weaved his magic in the previous season also further makes the case worse for Narine. Thus, it will be a testing time for the West Indies cricketer, who was instrumental in the franchise's journey to the IPL trophy twice in 2012 and 2014.
Downfall of Narine
When Narine was introduced in IPL, he was hard to pick as he could deceive any batsman with his turn. It earned him the tag of 'mystery spinner' but things did not go well for the West Indian in the coming years.
Narine was then pulled up for suspect bowling action, multiple times, which forced him to change his action. It then turned out to be that Narine began to become more predictable with his line and length and lost his wicket-taking ability. He, however, continued to be economical and thus helped the franchise through it.
Narine -- the batsman -- was also used as an opener and given the floater role where consistency remained a question for him. At present, the pinch-hitter and the mystery spinner, just remains a pale shadow of himself.
Shakib made quite an ordinary start to his IPL 2021 campaign. He could score only three runs and returned figures of 34/1 from his four overs. He, was, however, preferred more as a bowler than veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh who got only one over.
The advantage with Shakib is that he can hold the top-order for KKR and also add depth to their line-up. He has a knack for playing quick-fire knocks and can score crucial runs for the franchise and can also turn out to be handy with the ball.
It will, however, be too early to say that it is the end of the road for Narine but he cannot afford another poor run in these testing times for the franchise.