Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 7th 2015 Contents A47
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Pink shoes. Pink glares. The
Mohawk. Sunil Narine stands
out from the rest of the
Kolkata Knight Riders squad
even from a distance. Yet not
many, including the media,
are paying attention to the
West Indies offspinner.
It is three in the afternoon.
Peak summer heat soaring at
about 38 degrees centigrade
along with Kolkata s extreme
humidity levels. It is unbear-
A fan, sitting behind the nets
where Narine is bowling, col-
lapses and has an epileptic fit,
forcing Knight Riders physio-
therapist Andrew Leipus to
rush to the spot. Amid all this
chaos, Narine remains unflus-
It is only his second day at
training having endured a dif-
ficult last week.
Forced by the BCCI diktat,
he had to travel to the ICC-
accredited centre in Chennai
to get his action retested despite
having got a clearance from the
testing centre at University of
Loughborough in March.
Although Narine got an all-
clear from BCCI s sub-com-
mittee dealing with suspect
actions, the Knight Riders
management fear that mentally
it might have had an impact
That pressure will
not cease till some-
time at least con-
with suspect actions. But in
the nets, with no umpires
observing him, Narine is his
usual languid self. He does not
rush in to bowl. It does not
bother him that his first few
balls are easily dealt by Ryan
Glares on, he takes the short
run-up to deliver to ten
Watching from behind the
nets, to the untrained eye, it is
difficult to pick the subtle
changes Narine has carried out
as part of the remodelling of
Ten minutes into his bowl-
ing, Narine flips the glares
upside down and
sticks them at the
back of his head.
He is now ready.
There is a new
ball he faces,
ers the carom
ball. The tra-
jectory is a little
flatter. But Yusuf
has not read Narine s
hand as he
The next ball is flighted and
it dips. Yusuf has to lunge for-
ward to tap it safely.
Few balls later Narine bowls
a rank half tracker and Yusuf
gleefuly steps back and pulls
Yusuf probably imagines it
to be a six but Narine signals
Yusuf does not respond.
Narine does the signal once
more, this time with a modest
smile. Yusuf acknowledges.
A few more balls, Narine
wraps up his training after 15
minutes and walks away
into the dressing
room only to
by raising his
cheers are reserved for "Yusuf
bhai," "Robin," "Gambhir,"
Even during the nets it is for-
mer Pakistan fast-bowling ace
Wasim Akram, the Knights
Riders bowling consultant, who
is the cynosure of the 50-
strong fans. "Wasim bhai, ek
baar dal do. Dil shant ho jayega
(please bowl one ball. It would
relieve the heart) shouts a
young security guard.
Another group of teenagers
walk in excitedly and suddenly
spot Bangladesh allrounder
Shakib Al Hasan. They decide
to take a selfie with him in the
background. Not one is inter-
ested in Narine.
Interestingly as you walk into
and inside the Eden Gardens,
Narine remains inconspicuous.
Gambhir, Uthappa, Yusuf---all
of them are staring down from
Andre Russell and Morne
Morkel are part of the screens
that separate the Cricket Asso-
ciation of Bengal lobby and the
home dressing rooms.
There is a side profile of Nar-
ine that looks at you from the
screen covering the visitor s
dressing room, but you are
bound to miss it as it is partly
hidden by a pillar.
Knight Riders most valuable
player remains invisible. Per-
haps it suits him.
Quiet in celebration.
Quiet in agony.
Striker Kenwyne Jones has described Satur-
day s 1-1 draw at Ipswich as a crucial away
point, after scoring on debut for Bournemouth
to help them keep their promotion bid on
The lanky 30-year-old netted within three
minutes of entering the contest as a 78th minute
substitute at Portman Road, as the Cherries res-
cued a point on the road.
"I was happy with the goal because we have
the point away from home. Coming to a tough
team like Ipswich, you need to be able to with-
stand the direct way they play," Jones said.
"They have some big, strong guys and
Bournemouth is a team that is used to passing
the ball and dominating that way. If you don t
score first in matches like that, you re going to
be under a lot of pressure.
"Once we lost the goal it was about staying
patient, grinding it out and waiting until the
The draw saw Bournemouth slip to second in
the English Championship on 74 points, one
behind Middlesbrough. Norwich lie third on 73
points, ahead of Watford only on goal difference
in what is a tight race for automatic promotion
to the Premiership.
Just under a fortnight ago, Jones was sent on
loan by Cardiff until the end of the season, in
what the Welsh club described as a business
decision. Jones had already netted 13 times for
Despite admitting to be being surprised by the
move, Jones wasted little time in making his
mark at his new club, climbing onto Matt Ritchie s
corner to head home and cancel out Freddie
Sears seventh minute opener.
"As a substitute you have to come in and make
an impact and it was not just me, the other two
(Yann Kermorgant and Adam Smith) did really
well," Jones noted.
"At this stage of the season you may be accus-
tomed to playing a certain style and scoring the
same way but sometimes, a different goal is nec-
"I am quite happy with any part I can play to
help push the team over the edge. I am not going
to bang on the door saying I should be doing
this or that because this team has done very well
and got into a great position up until my arrival."
Jones has in the past played for Premiership
Sunderland and Stoke City, before moving to
Cardiff last year. (CMC)
Alastair Cook insists he is
"refreshed" by this winter s
enforced sabbatical at home on the
England can only hope their Test
captain has benefited indeed, because
he can expect to have precious little
time for the remainder of this year
to regain that sort of perspective.
Cook has had a taste already of
what is to come, first of all in three
Caribbean Tests this month and then
a decidedly awkward assignment at
home to New Zealand, before Eng-
land somehow try this summer to
regain the Ashes lost 5-0 under his
captaincy in 2013-14.
To date, he is one match---eight
runs in two innings---one problematic
radio interview and one departure
press conference, alongside coach
Peter Moores, back into the regime
he departed for three months after
his Christmas axing as England s
World Cup captain.
As Cook, Moores and their playing
and management colleagues recon-
vened at Gatwick Airport on Thurs-
day, the captain s first task was to
field questions on a series of topics
unlikely to go away any time soon.
He made 79 in his last Test
innings, part of a wide-margin and
third successive victory at home to
India last summer, and will be a
record-breaker for the foreseeable
future as England s most prolific cen-
It was Cook himself, however, who
helpfully pointed out those facts will
be irrelevant when he next walks out
to open the innings for his country.
Before and after that moment, he
will be beset by the endless stream
of enquiries---about his own poor
form of the past two years, his and
Moores future, the remarks of out-
spoken new England and Wales
Cricket Board chairman Colin
Graves...and, of course, Kevin
The wonder is whether Cook can
clear his mind sufficiently to defend
his wicket against the new ball, or
dispatch a wide one.
That ability, though, is what sets
apart batsmen of his calibre---and he
can only keep telling himself he has
the track record to prove it.
"That s what I ve got to do...at the
top of the order you re paid to score
runs, and I d love to get back to that.
"Every time you go out to bat you
start on nought. The record you have
in the past counts for nothing when
you walk out there."
Cook waved what he hoped would
be a brief goodbye to Moores, less
than a week before turning 30 on
Christmas Day, still apparently full
of optimism---despite an unsuccessful
tour of Sri Lanka---that he would be
retained to complete the task he had
been set three-and-a-half years ear-
lier, to lead England to the World
The tinsel could barely have been
in place around him, wife Alice and
their baby daughter at their rural
home before he discovered he would
be staying on well into the new year
Back to work last week, after Eng-
land s World Cup embarrassment
without him and off his own bat
after those two brief innings for MCC
against champion county Yorkshire
in Abu Dhabi, Cook could do little
else than try to impart a little positive
spin on events.
"It s been a different couple of
months from what I thought I would
have before Christmas.
"Every cloud has a huge silver lin-
ing, and spending three months at
home has been fantastic.
"It s been living a normal life
again---which I haven t had for quite
a long time---and it s been great,
spending time with family and
friends and being at home.
"It s been refreshing, but the chal-
lenge now is that a lot s gone on
since that last win against India at
"To say we can get back there
straight away is going to be a chal-
lenge for the players and for the lead-
ership, with me and Mooresy, to try
to do that."
Even against hosts in apparent dis-
array, that is undoubtedly true.
But Cook will still know deep
down that, on this occasion, failure
simply is not an option.
Narine, the invisible Marksman Jones hails
result after debut goal
Refreshed Cook ready to go against Windies
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