Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir on Thursday effusively praised Sunil Narine, saying it was time he trusted the Caribbean as a willower who was also the leader of the attack with the leather.
Man of the match Narine justified his promotion as an opening bat by cracking a 18-ball 37 to set the stage for his side's eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League match at the Eden Gardens here.
Responding to the Kings' 170/9, the Knights raced to 171/2 with 21 balls to spare.
"I need to start trusting Narine with the bat now," said Gambhir at the prize distribution ceremony.
Describing Narine as a quality bowler, Gambir said: "He was the leader of the attack irrespective of the conditions."
Narine kept things tight with the ball, giving only 19 runs in his four overs, besides claiming the wicket of Marcus Stoinis.
Explaining the reasons for sending Narine at the top of the order, Gambhir said: "He can hit a big ball, we have a long batting line-up, and so we sent Sunil in at the top. He won't face many balls at No. 9 anyway."
Narine said he enjoyed batting.
"It came off today. Some days it might not. Yes, I enjoyed batting. I opened there at the BBL (Big Bash League where he plays for Melbourne Renegades) and today I said 'anything for the team'."
He said with the ball, he only tries to keep things simple, by sticking to the basics.