There is more controversy in West Indies cricket: the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has decided that leg-spinner Sunil Narine will not be selected to play in the upcoming test matches against New Zealand, ostensibly because he opted to stay in India to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the finals of the Indian Premier League instead of reporting to West Indies camp for the June 1st deadline. (Kolkata won the championship on Sunday, defeating the King's XI Punjab.)
According to reports, the owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders offered to charter a private jet for Narine to leave as soon as the final was over, but the WICB still refused to include him on the team. As with most matters involving cricket, this has been a great topic of discussion throughout the Caribbean.
On Facebook, Ravi Denish Rampersad said that the controversy prevented Narine from performing at his best:
KKR won even though arine get some licks but I blame the West Indies Cricket board for that, causing all [those] problem[s] before a big final.
Sean Scott begged the WICB to grant Narine an exemption:
Ok Narine, collect your prize and catch the jet…straight flight to test match…we need our 4 best bowlers bowling for the test matches…WICB make the exception!
Tamara Manhomansingh noted that Narine was not as enthusiastic as his teammates:
Sunil is the only man there, not looking excited or celebrating at all. Poor fella. Too much baggage to enjoy this victory or be happy to come home. Head high big fella, you did yourself well, and you gave West Indians things to brag about & be proud of this IPL 7.
She also felt that there was a double standard at play:
Interesting [thing] is, the conditions laid out were ‘Come home Saturday, or you miss Jamaica'. Now he made his choice and it's ‘You're completely out of the entire Test Series and we may “consider” you for T20.’ WICB…properly shows who they don't care about. The double standard, the favouritism, the lies, the disrespect, the maliciousness, the deceit; this is why I find it terribly difficult to support and respect this board.
Foxx Blaize did not like that Narine would have to be left out but understood the rationale:
I don't think it's a particularly malicious decision…as the Board is taking a new direction, old things are [put] away…'West Indies first’ is a good policy…Narine knew it all along, he could have been given some leeway, yes, but what message would that be sending for future possible occurrences? It's one of those unpopular decisions that must be taken for progress.
Julia Whitehall agreed:
I agree the matter should have been handled differently, but if the deadline was known beforehand then it comes down to a choice. Narine wasn't forced to stay…it was his choice. Narine is…contracted to the West Indies, which put him in a very sticky situation, but he made his choice and unfortunately his choice came with consequences.
This cricket fan felt that the WICB were right to take their stand:
the wicb needed to take a stand and force narine to come back in time
— Kevon Persad (@penguin0017) June 1, 2014
Any other nation and he would have had to come back..australia,engalnd,sri lanka…narine cudda play he staying?
— Kevon Persad (@penguin0017) June 2, 2014
Other fans felt the WICB was being unreasonable:
re Narine: It's ridiculous to suggest he should walk out on his club just as they reach their final. The WICB should show some flexibility
— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) June 1, 2014
A player should NEVER be put in the position that Narine was. Stubborn management creates bad blood, this is spiteful & childish from WICB.
— Alternative Cricket (@AltCricket) June 1, 2014
Sunil Narine had played 3 ODIs when he got an IPL deal. He has as much to thank KKR for his success as he does WICB.
— Peter Miller (@TheCricketGeek) June 1, 2014