‘Their batting is so deep, they can afford to take that risk’, says Clarke on KKR sending Narine as an opener

Visakhapatnam, April 4 – Former Australia cricketer Michael Clarke shared his view on Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) decision of sending Sunil Narine as an opener against Delhi Capitals (DC) and opined that the two-time champion’s batting lineup runs deep enough to justify taking “such risks with Narine”.

Narine put on an incredible show of ball stringing as he almost hit everything out the ground against DC on Wednesday night and completed his fifty in 21 balls before finishing his innings on 85 off 39, laced with 7 boundaries and as many as maximums.

Speaking on Star Sports Cricket Live, Clarke lauded KKR’s decision to send Narine on top of the order as a “smart move” and said, “Look, the thing is, KKR’s batting is so deep that you can afford to take that risk with Narine. So, I think it’s a smart decision. I think the way he plays is maximum risk, so you have to accept that it’s not always going to come off as often as you’d like, or as often as a specialist batsman can do.

“But I think he has done it before, he has done it successfully, and he strikes the ball as clean as anyone, so I think it’s a smart decision, I think it suits their batting line up and I think you’ll see him there throughout the IPL.”

Besides Narine, 18-year-old Angkrish Raghuvanshi, a member of India’s 2022 U19 World Cup winning campaign, impressed with his wrist work and became the youngest debutant to score a fifty in IPL history.

Clarke was full of praises for the youngster and called the right-hander batter a “skilful, classy player”, adding that Raghuvanshi turned the opportunity into a talent with his knock of 54 off 27 in KKR’s massive 106-run win over DC.

“I loved watching him bat tonight. He got an opportunity, set in early, what a young, skilful, classy player. He’s got all the shots, he plays both offside, onside, the reverse, beautiful hands through the ball, so very talented and tonight he got the opportunity to turn that talent into performance. There’s no doubt that we are going to see a lot of this young man going forward. I think it will boost his confidence as well and KKR have so much stock, their batting is so deep, they are in for a big season,” he added.

Despite losing Angkrish and Narine in quick succession, the KKR onslaught continued as Andre Russell added more firepower to the already humongous total, scoring a quickfire 41 of just 19 balls.

“Andre Russell looks as fit as I’ve seen him. I know Andre quite well and I know he trains hard, he works very hard on his fitness, but I think when you look at him now, he looks lean, he looks fit, he’s batting and bowling, I think that’s because of the work he’s putting in that’s allowing his body to do both those things. His power hitting is as good as anybody’s in world cricket, and the way he finds a way to mistime the ball and still go over the boundary for sixes in phenomenal,” said Clarke.

“I think he’s an important bowler as well. He bowls in the powerplay, he’s got good change ups in the middle and his death bowling is pretty important as well. So I think he’s a big part of KKR, has been for a long time and this season will be no different,” he added.

After starring with a bat, Russell picked up a wicket after conceding 14 runs. Former India cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji also hailed Russell’s bowling prowess. “He’s mixing it up, a lot of change ups, and definitely the variations are coming good this season. He’s looking absolutely fit this season, and his batting confidence is reflecting on his bowling performance. That confidence and that kind of conviction in his bowling definitely will help him this season and it’s a very big advantage for the KKR bowling line-up,” said Balaji.

bc/

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