Sunil Narine has revealed a story about his first IPL auction, stating he was unable to digest the sum he had been bought for and wasn't sure whether he would actually be paid the amount. He went on to describe the impact of the price tag on his mentality and the role of his dad in his career.
The Indian Premier League has grown leaps and bounds since its inauguration but in its early years, it was already a huge commercial phenomenon attracting money like no other cricketing entity in the world. The franchise format of the tournament was revolutionary for the sport and ensured the players were paid more than anywhere else in the world courtesy of an ingenious auction system. Every year, stories emerge of foreign players being surprised at the huge prices they are paid by teams and Sunil Narine has become the latest addition to that list.
The West Indian spinner first appeared in the auction pool ahead of IPL 2012's mega auction. By then, he was already beginning to make waves around the world in T20s having shot to the limelight with Trinidad and Tobago in the domestic circuit. His exploits in the Champions League further elevated his global reputation, provoking the Bengal-based outfit of Kolkata Knight Riders to buy him for a whopping INR 5.5 crores.
Heralded as a mystery spinner, Narine enjoyed great success early in his IPL career, scalping 20-plus wickets in his first three seasons n the tournament. Even though batsmen around the world eventually started to figure him out, the 34-year-old's plethora of variations still remained more than effective and continued to bring him wickets.
The Caribbean all-rounder has revealed that he thought he was being pranked when the news of him being sold was first broken to him, owing to utter disbelief at the amount of money. Nevertheless, he credited his dad for helping him stay humble and talked about the kind of performances that are required to stay on top in a competitive league like the IPL.
"Funny story - when the auction happened, DJ Bravo told me I had been signed, but I know he likes to play games, so I didn't believe him. Then Pollard messaged me and I said to him, "This can't be real. When they buy you for this amount, do they actually pay you that?'' As a young cricketer from a humble background, I thank my Dad, he always kept me grounded, no matter the situation. With that price, the expectation is always high. I didn't play the first game, so I realised I wasn't an automatic pick despite the high price. It was an early wake-up call - I had to play good cricket," he told ESPNCricinfo.
Across 11 seasons, Narine has racked up 148 appearances for the purple and gold brigade, tallying an impressive 152 wickets while slogging over 1,000 runs in his role as a hard-hitter.