Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has not shied away from his statements regarding some of the big players in Indian Premier League 2020 and his latest remark promises to continue the trend. On Monday, as Kolkata Knight Riders suffered an 82-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore, many fans felt the absence of spinner Sunil Narine, who was left out of the Playing XI.
Narine was reported for a suspect illegal bowling action, and even though he could continue to bowl, KKR opted to go without him due to a certain condition. Rules state that if Narine was reported once more, he would be suspended from bowling further in the tournament until cleared. Pietersen however, feels the hype surrounding Narine has faded and that his absence would no longer be a major factor for the team.
“If I am honest, I am not so sure it (Sunil Narine absence) is a massive loss. Andre Russell is the guy you spend time talking about in team meetings. When he bowls, you are thinking about it. When he bats, you are thinking about it. It is same when he is fielding,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.
Narine has been an integral part of KKR since he came to the franchise in 2012. In fact, in the previous two matches, Narine won KKR close matches by denying the batsmen to score runs in the last overs. But despite that, Pietersen reckons that Narine’s skills have been on the wane and that he is no longer the player he once was.
“Sunil Narine has not been the same bowler for a few years now. He hasn’t had his best; he hasn’t had his real big spin. Coming to Sharjah, it is not something you are really worried about Sunil Narine. And then the bowlers have found him out in his batting. You bowl him short, he doesn’t like it,” Pietersen said.
“He is a tailender who bats at the top of the innings. I don’t really like him at the top of the order as a batsman. He comes off with 1 off 10, and that’s not good for the team and the team dynamics. As a spin bowler, he has not spun it properly for 2-3 years.”