LEICESTER, England (CMC) – Mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine could prove a huge asset to the West Indies attempts to avoid a whitewash against England, head coach Ottis Gibson said here Friday.
The 24-year-old, who was a stand-out in the recently concluded Indian Premier League for champions Kolkata Knight Riders, was unexpectedly called up on Wednesday to replace injured fast bowler Kemar Roach.
Narine will not arrive here until Sunday and will therefore miss the two-day tour match against Leicestershire at Grace Road starting today.
However, Gibson said that with Narine an unknown quantity in England, surprise could be his potent weapon if he was selected for the final Test of the three-match series at Edgbaston starting next Thursday.
“He’s just come back from playing a hell of a lot of cricket. He’s played a lot of cricket this year so I’m sure he’s been bowling a lot,” said Gibson.
“I think it’s his first time playing international cricket in England and there’s a disadvantage playing for the first time in these conditions but it’s an advantage because the opposition haven’t seen him yet.
“If he were to play this two-day game then there would be some footage of him for them to go and have a look at. He isn’t playing … and it means that if he plays [in the Test] it will be something completely new to them … so that could be a bit of an advantage for us.”
West Indies will be looking to avoid a clean sweep in the series after losing the first Test at Lord’s by five wickets and the second match at Trent Bridge by nine wickets inside four days earlier this week.
In the absence of Roach, who spearheaded the attack in the first two Tests, Gibson said he believed Narine would provide adequate cover and would bring strong personal attributes to the squad as the Windies chased their first win of the tour.
“It is an interesting replacement. He’s somebody we’ve identified from the shorter version of the game but the selectors also believe he can play the longer version and this is an opportunity to put that to the test,” Gibson pointed out.
“He comes in on Sunday, comes straight into the squad and then becomes available for selection for the Test match. It’s good to have somebody with his ability and his confidence to come in and replace Kemar who was excellent for us and we are always looking to see if they are any advantages to be gained in terms of trying to win the Test match.
“We’ve lost the series but we’ve always been a very proud sort of people, very proud of our history and we would like to win the next Test match and salvage some pride.”