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Sunil Narine credits Gautam Gambhir for asking him to open for KKR – He wanted me to get the team off to a fast start

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Sunil Narine started opening the batting for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) from the 2017 season onwards.

Sunil Narine of KKR. Courtesy: PTI

Sunil Narine of KKR. Courtesy: PTI

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sunil Narine made his IPL debut under Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy
  • Sunil Narine has scored 4 half-centuries in the IPL
  • Sunil Narine has also picked 452 wickets in his T20 career

Veteran off-spinner Sunil Narine heaped praise on Gautam Gambhir for letting him open the batting for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The southpaw started opening the batting from the 2017 edition of the T20 tournament and made a decent name for himself.

Narine made his debut for the Knight Riders back in 2012 and it took five seasons for the Knights to identify his potential with the bat. In 148 IPL matches thus far, Narine has scored 1025 runs at an average of 14.86 and a strike rate of 162.7 with four half-centuries to his name.

Narine said that after he started performing for the Men in Gold and Purple in the top order, he started gaining more confidence.

“Gautam Gambhir asked me to open. He wanted me to get the team off to a fast start, it didn’t matter if I lost my wicket early. Nobody could plan too much for me as I was still new to the role, opposition didn’t take me that seriously, and I went from strength to strength. The more I performed well, the more confidence KKR had in me and gave me that encouragement,” Narine was quoted as saying in Cricket Monthly.

Narine has also opened the batting for the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League (BBL). Recently, he chipped in with decent performances for Surrey while playing in the 2022 edition of the T20 Blast.

In 419 T20 matches, Narine has scored 3196 runs at an average and strike rate of 15.36 and 148.23 respectively, with 13 half-centuries to show for his efforts. He has also picked up 452 T20 wickets with 12 four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul.

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