World T20 number one bowler Sunil Narine will line out for Trinidad & Tobago in the forthcoming HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign after becoming the first high-profile transfer of the Player Draft from Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Narine, 27, first occupied the summit of the ICC rankings in 20-over cricket in March 2013 and has been a virtual ever-present at the summit of the bowler rankings ever since. In 34 T20 Internationals for the West Indies to date, he has captured 40 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 5.69.
An ICC World T20 winner in 2012, Narine has been named in the West Indies squad for the forthcoming ICC World T20 2016 in India next month.
The off-spinner will return to Trinidad & Tobago after three successful seasons with the Warriors.
Narine has also helped deliver a brace of IPL titles to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2012 (where he was the tournament’s Player of the Tournament after taking 24 wickets at a little under 5.50 runs per over) and again in 2014.
Reflecting on his time with Guyana and explaining the reasons behind his move, Narine said: “First I must say that I have really enjoyed my three years with Guyana. As a team we had been a little disappointed not to have won a CPL trophy in that time, which we really wanted to do and make Bobby (Ramroop) proud. But I am sure Guyana will look to take this opportunity to build a new team that will be a force to be reckoned with.
“Some things are out of my control, and I always said from the start when the CPL were appointing various icon players that if I wasn’t able to play for Trinidad then I would like to play for Guyana. So I have done my best and I hope Guyana recognise that.
“I am from Trinidad so naturally, in an ideal world, you want to play for your country. Although I am moving from one team to another, it is with excitement and I will be doing my best regardless. Guyana have their plans, as do Trinidad & Tobago, and I will just look to fit in as best as possible.”
Narine is also excited about the prospect of teaming up once more with the owners from KKR.
He said: “KKR prides itself on being a family and that is exactly what it is. Yes, the team is competitive and we have won titles, but a lot of that can be attributed to how the franchise is run from top to bottom. The owners and management care and make themselves available. Players are comfortable and well looked after and I am sure the same style of ownership and management will be seen at Trinidad & Tobago.”
Hailing the growth of the CPL and looking ahead to the CPL Player Draft, which takes place on 11 February in Barbados where the identities of all the players on each team will be revealed, Narine added: “All us players from the Caribbean want to play in front of passionate and packed crowds, and that is what happens in the CPL.
“Some of the best players from all round the world come and play in the competition and it’s highly competitive. The crowds can be electric, the atmosphere charged and that is exciting.
“Now I see more owners coming in to the CPL and that must speak volumes. Instead of the CPL itself owning teams there are IPL franchises taking ownership and that has been unheard of around the world until now. It tells me the CPL is special and as a tournament it is growing and growing.”
Commenting on the transfer, a delighted CEO of KKR, the new owners of the Trinbago franchise, Venky Mysore said: “Sunil has been an integral part of KKR since 2012 and ever since we first came to Trinidad & Tobago, people have been asking me, ‘When are you going to bring Sunil back?’
“With this exciting announcement it is a clear signal of our intent and is a great day as we plan ahead for the forthcoming CPL campaign. It is also another important step as we bid to extend the commonalities between the franchises, with Jacques Kallis featuring for both sides in recent times.
“Sunil is a champion player, who has helped deliver two titles to KKR in 2012 and 2014, and a champion person as well and I know that he will play a vital role in our quest for glory this year back in his homeland of Trinidad & Tobago.”
With Sunil back with the T&T franchise it remains to be seen if that means that Red Steel winning captain, Dwayne Bravo, has been exchanged to the Amazon Warriors. Brendan McCullum has been rumoured to be the new "marquee' player to be picked up and based on the desire for 'commonalities' between this franchise and the one in Kolkata we can expect Jacques Kallis to be retained.