This Narine story is proving to be a good way of splitting cricket followers into two distinct camps. The purists v the Mercenaries v the BCCI apologists v those who have deep suspicions about the West Indian Cricket Council.
OK, that is probably more than two distinct camps but you get the picture.
His decision to stay with Kolkata Knight Riders for yesterday’s IPL final on Sunday resulted in him not being considered for this month’s Test series against New Zealand. Narine had been given a June 1 deadline by the WICB to join the training camp ahead of the Tests that start on June 8. This despite the fact he had been playing cricket against the best in the world for the last six weeks.
So, at first glance, it seemed to be one of those tests v IPL debates that hangs over world cricket, not helped by the increasingly crammed schedule.
But when you look further it appears that there are dark forces other factors in this decision. First of all Gayle hasn’t arrived on time either, but he’s got his 100th test coming up, and he’s Chris Gayle.
Secondly, why would you ban someone from an entire series for being two days late to a training camp that starts a week before the first test?
It is not as if Narine has no form against New Zealand. While his overall test average is 40.5, against NZ he has taken 18 wickets at 24.3. You could argue he should be the first picked; our batsmen are historically vulnerable playing unorthodox leg spinners.
The West Indian Cricket Board has a pretty ordinary history when it comes to man management, most famously leading to West Indians being such a dominant feature in the Packer Revolution.
Narine has been mucked around in the past too; not least in being omitted for the first two tests here in December. Whoever thought that Shillingford, dubious action included, and Deonarine were the better spinning options was up to something.
Patronising, he is not banned from the T20 series in July, but it remains to be seen whether he bothers to stay around for that. The English County scene will beckon.
At the end of it, it is good news for the New Zealand cricket team, and its attempt to win the first test series away from home against a top tier nation for the first time in 12 years.
But in this current climate nobody likes a cricket result with an asterisk next to it.