Sunil Narine and the struggle of a remodelled action

back icon
safari
28 Oct 2020 | 04:54 PM
authorAjit Agarkar

Sunil Narine and the struggle of a remodelled action

Taking Narine’s case, former Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar delves into cricket’s tryst with questionable bowling actions

heart

Share

It is a rare situation when there is more emphasis on a bowler’s wardrobe than his skills. Unfortunately, that is the case with Kolkata Knight Riders’ main man Sunil Narine. Before he was called for a suspect action in the ongoing IPL he plied his trade in full sleeves. After he was cleared and his name removed from the list of bowlers with a dodgy action, Sunil has turned out to bowl in short sleeves. It was a rare and seemingly innocuous sight but a crucial one for the overall credibility of the individual and our game. 

Chucking has been a nuisance for the game. I am of a firm opinion that anyone who is a repeat offender should be dealt with severely. For starters, he should not be allowed to bowl with a full sleeve shirt. For a very long time, repeat offenders have got away by bowling with full sleeves on. I have a quiet chuckle when some of them claim full sleeves are “more comfortable” or “it is a habit since a young age”. It is hard to imagine how bowling with full sleeves in hot conditions can be comfortable. Similarly, there are more chances of cricket-aspiring youngsters turning out in short sleeves than otherwise hence the claim that “it is a habit since young age” has little or no ground.

I’d push for short sleeves for one more reason. It is tough for on-field umpires to gauge if the bowler bowling with full sleeves is flexing his arm beyond permissible limits. There is no guarantee that a naked eye can accurately judge the amount of flex in short sleeves but still, the odds are much better. That also brings me to my other point that any shortcoming in a bowling action should be picked only on the basis of video footage. This job should rest with the third or fourth umpire in close conjunction with a bio-mechanist.

In Sunil’s case, I am not sure whether he decided to turn out in short sleeves himself or was it one of the pre-conditions for his action being cleared. Either way it sent out important messages. If it was Sunil’s initiative then he is making a statement. He is clearly saying that he has nothing to hide, although I’d have liked if he was bowling with short sleeves ever since he was first called. On the other hand, if it was pushed through by IPL officials as a precondition then they are saying that while we have cleared your name we are still closely monitoring. 

This further gets underlined from the fact that IPL’s press release which announced Sunil’s clearance read: “The Committee also noted that Narine should reproduce the same action going forward in the IPL 2020 matches as presented to the Committee in the video footage.” They were referring to the footage submitted by KKR for an official review based on which Sunil was cleared. None of us have seen that footage but it is fair to assume that it's his remodelled bowling action which he has displayed in the two comeback games he has played so far.  

With the remodelled action Sunil isn’t the same bowler. A fact acknowledged by KKR in the way they have used him in two games. When he was reported on October 10th he bowled the crucial final over of the match against Kings XI Punjab. He successfully defended 14 runs that Punjab needed to win. To put things in perspective he bowled the 8th, 10th, 18th and 20th over in that tight game. His overall figures were two for 28 in four overs. In his comeback game on October 24th against Delhi Capitals, the short-sleeved Narine bowled 8th, 10th, 13th and 15th overs. Overall four wicket-less overs for 37 runs. In the last game against Punjab, he didn’t bowl in the first six or final four overs. 

 

While Sunil is a repeat offender but his critics will have to give it to him the speed at which he has remodelled his action. He was called on October 10th and cleared on 18th. It is not easy to press pause and then press reset for something that is so deeply entrenched in your muscle memory. Just to draw a loose example, it is like me driving a left-hand drive car. 

Then, there are emotions like ego and insecurity. Historically Sunil has been a top performer in this tournament but with the new action, he is more into a supporting cast rather than be in a lead role for KKR. It is one thing applauding a younger team-mate like Varun Chakravarthy but another seeing your name slip down on the leaderboard. Someone who survives largely on franchise cricket episodes such as these definitely hurt his stocks. It is a cruel world out there, which in no time can label someone from a “must-have” category to “maybe”.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Sunil Philip NarineAjit Bhalchandra Agarkar

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Dananjaya allowed to resume bowling in international cricket
Dananjaya, who was banned from bowling for one year after being reported during a Test match against New Zealand in Galle from August 14 to 18 in 2019
userPTI
08 Jan 2021
safari
NEWS
Narine cleared to bowl in the IPL
The KKR bowler was reported for a suspect action during his team's clash against Kings XI Punjab
userPTI
18 Oct 2020
safari
OPINION
Sunil Narine - Illegal bowling actions and injustice to batsmen
Narine has been a champion performer who has added much to the game. It would be sad to see his career is significantly interrupted again
userGarfield Robinson
15 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
Hopeful that there would be an appropriate resolution: KKR on Narine
The KKR spinner was reported for suspect bowling action
userPTI
12 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
Pulse was racing inside but I kept calm: Narine
Narine tilted the match in his side's favour by dismissing Nicholas Pooran and conceding just two runs in the 18th over
userPTI
11 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
Sunil Narine reported for a suspect action
One more breach could lead to him being barred from bowling again
userPTI
10 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
If Narine gets grip from surface, he will be effective: Gambhir
The 38-year-old said, "For me, the most important thing is that when Sunil Narine is hiding the ball during his run-up, it will increase the difficulties for the batsmen"
userPTI
05 Sep 2020
safari
NEWS
IPL 2020: The complete news timeline
What's hot, what's not, who's in, who's out. Everything that you need to know about IPL 2020 - we have it covered here!
userCricket.com staff
04 Sep 2020
safari
FEATURE
Sunil Narine: A shadow of his former self, yet very effective
On his 32nd birthday, we look back at his IPL career and what the future holds for him
userHardik Worah
26 May 2020
safari
NEWS
Many thought I would be the last person to play for India: Bumrah
Bumrah has gone on to play 64 ODIs, 50 T20s and 14 Tests for the country since breaking into the side
userPTI
27 Apr 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved