Sunil Narine has been called up to replaced the injured Kemar Roach for West Indies' final Test against England at Edgbaston on June 7. The West Indies are currently playing a tour game at Leicester. Narine has not even arrived in England yet, and is obviously not playing in the tour match.
Otis Gibson, West Indies coach was asked about Narine's preparedness. Gibson is quoted in George Dobell's report as follows - "He's just come back from playing a hell of a lot of cricket, so I'm sure he's been bowling a lot,"
This is a myth which even international coaches are willing to believe. 15 matches in 7 weeks would conventionally suggest exactly what Gibson has been saying. But the fact is that Narine has bowled fewer than 60 overs in those 7 weeks in match play. In his last first class game in February, Narine bowled 51 overs and took 10 wickets for Trinidad and Tobago.
I wonder how he will fare in England. If England's batsmen are unable to read his variation, then, like Saeed Ajmal, he may have some success. But in conditions where the ball is unlikely to grip the surface as readily as it did in Abu Dhabi for Ajmal, it is accuracy and control which will be Narine's most valuable allies. As far as these qualities are concerned, bowling 59 overs in 7 weeks over 15 different games is not "a hell of a lot of cricket" or a lot of bowling by any standard.
Still, I hope Narine can overcome these preparatory shortcomings.
IPL afficionados will claim that Narine was selected for West Indies due to his IPL efforts. His selection for the Test team must have a lot to do with the fact that in 2012, he's taken 8 wickets against Barbados, 10 against Windward Islands, as astonishing 13/39 against Combined Colleges, before he left Trinidad & Tobago for the IPL. His performances for T&T brought him a price of $700,000 in the IPL Auction.
He is a potential superstar. I just hope he regularly plays cricket in which bowlers have a chance.