IPL 2018: Sunil Narine could always do well with the bat, says Robin Uthappa

Uthappa also talked about Shubman Gill's batting order.

Sunil Narine
Kolkata Knight Riders’ Sunil Narine in action. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

In 2018, KKR went with the unique strategy of sending their star-player Sunil Narine out to open from the beginning. In all these years, Narine’s primary role in the team used to be that of a bowler. But surprisingly, he has been quite successful with the bat as well. In the very first match, he slammed a storming half-century against the Royal Challengers Bangalore from only 19 balls.

KKR vice-captain Robin Uthappa shared with the reporters what their objective was behind sending Narine out to open regularly, and how much effect it has had on the team’s performance. Uthappa said that the plan was to take advantage of the early powerplay overs, and Narine is someone who could hit the big shots right at the beginning. It was an easy decision for the management because Uthappa going at number 3 kept an additional opener on the tab.


“So he (Narine) could always bat, open the innings. We saw that he can utilise the powerplay so well with the way he bats,” he said as quoted by Telegraph India. “And having someone like me at number three also makes it easier for the team and the management also to make that decision that if a wicket falls quickly, then you have another opening batsmen going in.”

But the team did not need that fall back option too much in the tournament, and contributing in more than one ways to the team’s success has shaped Narine into a better player, he explained, “He’s come off so well, and it had also done a world of good to his confidence personally. From the outside when I look at it, he’s got another opportunity to contribute to the team which had made him more successful as a player.”

Uthappa also said that the Trinidadian was always more of a batsman than a bowler, but his skill, range and bowling prowess eclipsed that fact, “Sunil (Narine) is someone who is always enjoyed batting, someone who’s always been a batsman who can bowl than a bowler. But what he bowled and what he does with his bowling skill is that his batting got overshadowed.”

However, in 2018, he has shown quite an all-round performance, with 193 runs and 10 wickets from 9 matches.

Shubman Gill up the order?

When asked whether there will be any changes in the batting order to make way for young Shubman Gill to bat up the order, Uthappa clarified that it is not on the cards because of left-right combination.

“Looking at the batting order we have, with Nitish Rana, with the kind of flexibility he brings us with a left-right combination, Shubman will not be finding a spot at the top four or five,” he said. “Because you also can’t send DK (Dinesh Karthik) lower than five. So Shubman found himself at 6 and 7 floating. It’s all on the situation but I think it’s a good problem to have,” he added.