The story behind ‘mystery-spinner’ Narine getting his name ‘Sunil’
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli during ICC World T20 2016 © Getty Images

Since time immemorial, West Indies have been known for producing the best and most fearsome fast bowlers. Right from the great Wes Hall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall to Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose; the Caribbean side has had a rich legacy of fast-bowling. Breaking this legacy emerged a ‘mystery-spinner’ Sunil Narine, who has quickly gone on to establish himself as a leading bowler in world cricket since his international debut in 2011. Also Read: When entire Indian team was cheering “well bowled Zak” for Sreesanth.

Narine, who shot to fame from the 2011 edition of now defunct Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), has been a difficult customer to deal with for the best of the batsmen. He has put them in trouble time and again. There was another player with the same name — Sunil Gavaskar — who would do the same thing; albeit to the bowlers. The ‘Little-Master’ Gavaskar would deal with the deadly West Indian pace battery of the 1970s and 1980s with ease and score runs against them at will.

This was a special and rare feat back then, which earned Gavaskar thousands of fans in the Caribbean, especially Trinidad & Tobago, where he averaged over 99 from the five Tests he played. So comfortable was he playing at Port of Spain that many felt Trinidad, which has a significant population of Indian origin, was a home away from home for Gavaskar. A certain Shahid Narine too was one amongst those die-hard fans of Gavaskar. Such was his love for the Indian batting legend that he wanted to name even his daughter and years later, grandson after him. But thankfully his wife stepped in and he did not have his way. But when the couple had a son as their second child, the choice of name for him was obvious — Sunil. There was absolutely no discussion on the name as the new-born was named after Gavaskar. Also Read: When Robin Uthappa said Irfan Pathan was his wife

Shahid, who passed away recently during the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 9, always wanted his son to become a cricketer. It was a proud moment for him and the Narine household when Sunil played for West Indies and a meeting with Gavaskar for the first time, which happened during IPL 2012, was cherry on the cake. “I still get goosebumps when I recall Gavaskar asking Sunil about his name and when he found out that my son was actually named after him, on live television. I had twice chickened out from sharing a greeting with Gavaskar during his playing days. This though, was out of this world,” Shahid had told Indian Express in an interview in 2013.

Narine has seen a lot of ups and downs throughout his brief career. His bowling action was found illegal and he had to remodel it, work hard on it and then hope for making a comeback. Against all odds, he did make a successful comeback and was one of Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) main bowler in the recently concluded season as well. Also Read: When Andrew Symonds called Robin Uthappa ‘Monkey’