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Narine rules himself out of the T20 Blast Finals Day

Last updated on 13 Jul 2023 | 09:42 PM
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Narine rules himself out of the T20 Blast Finals Day

The Caribbean spinner needed to make a round trip of 9000-mile travel within 72 hours and feature in a minimum of three T20s in between

After considering a quick trip to Birmingham from Texas for the Finals Day at the T20 Blast, Sunil Narine has decided to skip the Blast final for Surrey. 

Narine is leading the Los Angeles Knight Riders in the inaugural Major League Cricket (MCL) season. LAKR are playing the lung opener on July 13 (July 14 IST). Narine is also a part of the Surrey squad that has made it to the Finals Day in the ongoing T20 Blast. The Finals Day include both the semi-finals and the finals of the tournament on the same day with three back-to-back games. 

Given LAKR had their second game scheduled on July 16, Narine was planning a back-and-forth trip across the North Atlantic Ocean within three days. 

Narine has been a vital cog in Surrey’s squad making it to the Finals Day in the 2023 Blast season. In 15 games for Surrey, the Trinidadiad snaffled 20 wickets. He also averaged 22.6 with the bat at a strike-rate of 159.8 for his 203 runs. 

Narine’s route to fulfilling his commitments for both Surrey and the new Los Angeles franchise was a stiff one. You only need to google the distance between Texas and Birmingham to have the first idea of the Caribbean spinner’s task. 

A round trip required the 35-year old to fly over 9000 miles within 72 hours and play a maximum of four T20 games in between. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Narine’s West Indian teammate and counterpart at the MLC, Kieron Pollard joked that Narine needed a private jet. 

The Surrey Cricket Club learned late on Wednesday (July 12) that Narine won’t be returning for the all-important event at Edgbaston. 

Surrey’s Director of Cricket Alec Stewart said: “We were aware when we signed Sunil for the T20 Blast that he could be unavailable for Finals Day due to his pre-signed contract with the Knight Riders in the MLC.

“However, all of the subsequent conversations with the various parties since he arrived for the group games and leading into this week were that we would have him back for Saturday, so it’s disappointing and frustrating to lose a player of Sunil’s quality at such late notice.”

Surrey are now left with only one overseas player for the finals - Sean Abbott. The club is not allowed a replacement player since the regulations state that a player need to be registered with a county in the group stages of a competition to play the knockouts. 

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