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Windball cricket made Sunil Narine a natural striker of the ball

Wind ball cricket is a mini local tournament in West Indies which is held every year under floodlights and it is played with a soft ball.

Sunil Narine of KKR Bats IPL 10
Sunil Narine of KKR. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Caribbean magician Sunil Narine was earlier known for his exceptional abilities with the ball but off late we have witnessed some magic from his willow as well. In the ongoing IPL, the southpaw has been the surprise package for the Kolkata Knight Riders and have got his team off to flying starts almost all occasions when he has opened the batting.

In 4 matches, the Caribbean has amassed 119 runs facing a mere 59 runs and there was a time when 60 of his runs on a trot came in fours and sixes. It was sublime hitting by the left-handed batsman and he never looked in any discomfort at all. He played proper cricketing shots which paid rich dividends for Narine.

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Eventually, his 34 runs cameo up the order against the Royal Challengers proved to be the turning point as the visitors were bowled out for the lowest score in IPL history. This wasn’t the first time that Sunil was asked to open the innings as earlier in the year, he also opened during a few matches in the Big Bash League.

He began with a 37 of 18 deliveries and after failing for the next match he again followed it up with a whirlwind 42 of 17 balls. AR Shrikanth who is the performance analyst of KKR from the inaugural season revealed that it is the “windball cricket” in West Indies that made Narine a natural striker of the ball. Shrikanth was also a part of the CL team Trinbago Knight Riders for whom Narine plays.

Wind ball cricket is a mini local tournament in West Indies which is held every year under floodlights and it is played with a soft ball. It is a 8 over a side tournament played mostly on a concrete wicket. International stars like Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard still participate in these tournaments and the hype of this tournament in the Caribbean made Bravo once say hat ‘windball cricket is better organised” than WICB.

“Once I was in Sunil’s house during the last CPL. There was a huge trophy cabinet in his house. Apart from IPL trophies, most of those were batting awards. He told me that it was for his batting in all local tournaments. He has played a lot of windball cricket. It’s a big tournament there,” Shrikanth was quoted as saying by Times of India on Monday.

“He is a champion allrounder in that form of cricket. I think it has helped him become a natural striker. He has a good sense of timing, can hit the ball hard and has a beautiful bat swing,” he added. Shrikanth was earlier a part of the talent scout that was sent to watch BBL and he was surprised big time when Narine opened the batting for the Melbourne Renegades.

“Even before the BBL, Sunil has won us a few games with the bat lower down the order in the CPL for Trinbago. He is the fifth highest six hitter in PSL for Lahore Qalandars last season batting down. But I was surprised to see him open because of the bouncy conditions in Australia,” he added.

He also revealed that the move to open with Narine was taken by the coaching staff comprising of Jacques Kallis, Simon Katich and Lakshmipathy Balaji. “It wasn’t about anybody spotting his talent with the bat. We all knew he had the talent. It was a matter of where to use him. The message for him was to express himself. He is very unpredictable as a batsman, so it’s difficult to set a field for him as a bowling unit,” he signed off.

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