Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar believes having Sunil Narine batting in the Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order is a complete waste of time as the team needs quality batsmen in their line-up to be able to reverse their fortunes in the IPL this season.

KKR are currently eighth in the IPL standings after just two wins from their seven matches to date, a position that Gavaskar believes comes down to one thing.

"To be honest, they don’t have too many classy batsmen. I don’t know how many in the dugout they can look to and say, ‘Look… why don’t you come in and bat up the order.’ Because if you have a look at their batting, apart from Shubman Gill and Morgan himself, there is no class," Gavaskar said on Cricket Connected.

"There is Andre Russell down at five or six and Dinesh Karthik,” Gavaskar continued.

“I would look at promoting Karthik up the order, because for simple reasons. There is Rahul Tripathi up. Sunil Narine at 4 or 5 whatever is a waste of space. It doesn’t make any sense having him there. If you want to have Sunil Narine, have him at the top of the order where he can throw his bat around, and maybe if he connects a few, that’s fine.

“KKR’s problem is that they haven’t got anybody at three, four, five who can play an impact innings."

 

On the heels of news that Andre Russell has withdrawn from the 2020 Lankan Premier League it has emerged that the all-rounder did not request a No Objection Certificate from Cricket West Indies that would allow him to play in the Sri Lankan T20 league.

Chris Gayle said it was nice to be able to win the battle between himself and mystery spinner Sunil Narine in the Kings XI Punjab’s emphatic victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah on Monday.

Man-of-the-Match Gayle, 41, scored a 29-ball 51 in a second-wicket stand of 100 from just 60 balls with Mandeep Singh, who top scored with an unbeaten 66 as KXIP ran out eight-wicket victors.

Gayle took 17 runs off Narine’s bowling ithat included two of his five sixes that were creamed over wide long off the Trinidadian in the 11th and 13th over, respectively. The Universe Boss just failed to remain unbeaten getting out from a slower ball from Lockie Ferguson in the 19th over with KXIP just three runs short of their target.

Narine, meanwhile, went wicketless while conceding 27 from his four overs.

Gayle said it was great to get one up against one of the best T20 bowlers in the world.

“Sunil has got me out so many times. He is the best spinner in the world. So when you get a wicket like this, when it is not turning much, you got to cash in,” Gayle said even as he praised the match-winning knock from Mandeep, who is mourning the loss of his father.

“Mandeep is going through a lot. Last game we said we want to win it for him. So beautiful to watch him in the middle pointing out to his father watching from above. And dad, my dad, I love you. Today, the coach asked the senior players, we need to step up in crucial games, I am glad we were able to put my hand up. And the youngsters in the team are telling me, 'Don't retire.'"

Gayle’s form has been on the upswing since he made his season debut for KXIP after missing out on playing during the first half of the season, partly due to a case of food poisoning that resulted in him being briefly hospitalized.

"Been training off the field when not playing. Doing my runs. Gym. Feeling good,” said Gayle, who is also optimistic about his team finishing the season well after their fifth win on the trot.

“Have a good feeling about myself and the team. Just capitalizing on it, but still a long way to go."

 

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and West Indies spinner Sunil Narine has once again been reported for a suspect action, following the team’s triumph over Chris Gayle’s Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.

Narine ended with 2 wickets for 28 runs as KKR defended a par score of 164 to register their second win in a row and climb up to third position on the points table.  The bowler artfully defended 14 runs off the final over to help his team stun KXIP by 2 runs.  Following the match, however, an IPL release confirmed that the player’s bowling action was once again under scrutiny.

"Sunil Narine, the Kolkata Knight Riders player, has been reported for bowling with a Suspected Illegal Bowling Action during his side’s Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 match against Kings XI Punjab at Abu Dhabi,” the release stated.

"The report was made by the on-field umpires according to the IPL’s Suspected Illegal Bowling Action Policy. Mr. Narine will be placed on the Warning List and is permitted to continue to bowl in the tournament,” it continued.

"Another report will result in Mr. Narine being suspended from bowling in the Dream11 IPL 2020 until cleared by the BCCI Suspect Bowling Action Committee."

Narine's bowling action was previously reported for the same offense in 2015 and was banned from bowling off-spinners in that season and even missed the 50-over World Cup for the West Indies to work on his action.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell admits that like many others he is more than eager to see the back of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to get back to doing what he loves to do best, and that is hitting sixes.

The power slugger, however, also has another important reason to want to see the virus contained and that is to get his family back together.  Russell’s wife and newborn daughter were both in Miami, in the United States, when travel restrictions were enforced, while the Jamaican was in his homeland.

“She [his daughter] and Jassym, they are both in Miami. I stay connected to them and talk to them. I wish I could have them here, but with all these travel restrictions, we cannot do anything,” Russell said in an interview with the website of his IPL team, KKR’s official ‘Knights Unplugged.

 “It’s not really a situation anyone would want to be in. This is affecting the world, it’s affecting me, preventing me from hitting sixes. Hope this thing calms down in a month or two and we can go back to normal life again.”

The player hopes to once again feel the excitement of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has been postponed indefinitely amid the outbreak.  For Russell, nothing compares to the excitement of the IPL  and facing his home crowd at Eden Gardens.

“Let me confess something, IPL is where I get the most goosebumps. I get that in CPL (Caribbean Premier League) as well but when it comes to playing in IPL, especially Eden Gardens, there is no comparison,” Russell said referring to his team’s home ground in Kolkata.

“The welcome I get, that’s love. It puts pressure on me but it’s good pressure,” he added.

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