Gambhir backs embattled Narine

Gambhir backs embattled Narine

Gautam Gambhir, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ skipper, backed his embattled bowler Sunil Narine to come out stronger after the off-spinner was suspended from bowling in the Champions League T20 final that Chennai Super Kings won despite facing a stiff 181-run target.

The West Indies’ player was reported twice for suspect action during the CLT20 and received an automatic suspension from bowling in the final here on Saturday. Even the Caribbeans pulled him out of their ODI squad which will be playing a five-match series followed by a T20I against India. Narine’s absence was telling as KKR failed to defend a total of 180 for six.  

“I don’t talk about individuals, whether it’s Sunil or anyone,” said Gambhir when asked if he missed T20’s most effective bowler. “We still had a lot of belief, though Sunil wasn’t there, that we would pull off this one. But Chennai played well, no doubt about that. But as I said, Sunil is, he was and always will be an integral part of KKR. We will back him to the hilt. He’s a strong character and hopefully he comes back, gets this monkey off his back come next IPL and do what he’s been doing for us,” he remarked in his post-match comments. KKR’s fielding wasn’t up to mark but Gambhir put it down to the conditions. “Seeing the conditions, I think, we fielded pretty well. There was a lot of dew so it was very difficult for anyone, whether it was the fielders or the bowlers, to grip the ball. So you have to see the conditions as well. It was a very good effort by all of us that we took the game till the 19th over, especially when we had hardly any help.” 

The loss also ended KKR’s 14-match winning streak and Gambhir felt it will take something special for anyside to break that record. “I think 14 on the trot is an unbelievable effort, and shows our character and determination as well. And come next year, this side will only get better with the kind of talent we have.

We’ll achieve much bigger heights than we’ve done and I’ve got a lot of confidence in this squad. We’ve got a lot of depth in this squad, and youngsters are picking up their chances and performing well. So I feel that this is just the start of the journey and there’s lot more to come,” he offered.

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