Kolkata: Relieved after Sunil Narine's action was cleared by the ICC, Kolkata Knight Riders star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan said West Indies bowler is a vital cog in the Kolkata Knight Riders team and that he is still the leader of the bowling pack.
"It's a big relief not only to me but to the entire team. He is a vital cog in KKR's wheel. He has always played a great role in KKR's success. So, it's a big positive for us," Shakib said on the sidelines of their practice session.
The Trinidadian had undergone a retest at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on March 28 and checked in the city ahead of KKR's camp but only to rush back home after his father's untimely demise.
Narine was reported during the third ODI against Sri Lanka on 7th November, 2015 in Pallekele and subsequently banned. At the retest, it was revealed that the amount of elbow extensions in Narine's bowling action for all his deliveries that were tested was within the 15-degree level of tolerance permitted.
The umpires, however, are free to report Narine in the future if they believe he uses a suspect action. Shakib, however, said Narine would still command the same respect he's been getting all these years.
"I don't think it matters much for a quality spinner like Narine. Everyone knows he's a world class bowler and batsmen give him the respect. I still think he will still lead the pack. Of course we will contribute in our way. His role is very important," said the Bangladesh allrounder ahead of their season opener against Delhi Daredevils here on Sunday.
With KKR boasting of legendary allrounder Jacques Kallis as their head coach, Shakib said the South African is way ahead of others.
"It's a new role for him. I'm sure he would do well with his vast experience. No coach in the world has so much of experience as him. He is way ahead of others. I'm sure everyone will support him and will do well for us," he said.
"I don't think much has changed. Yes they are different people but their thought process is all same. We never faced any problem. Kallis knows all the players inside out so it will be easier for him."