Have we seen the last of Mr Marlon Samuels?

Saturday, June 21, 2014    

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The West Indies and visitors New Zealand are involved in a keen tussle for bragging rights in the three-match Test cricket series, with each winning a match of the two completed so far.

Significantly though, following their heavy defeat to New Zealand in the opening match at Sabina Park, the West Indies were forced to make three changes, one of them through injury, a move that resulted in victory for the home team.

Windward Islands spinner Mr Shane Shillingford, who performed reasonably with the ball in the first match and scored a second innings half-century, was ruled out by injury.

Leeward Islands opener Mr Kieran Powell, who flopped in both innings of the first Test with low scores, was also axed, and the most prominent name of the lot, Mr Marlon Samuels, was also left off the squad, not due solely to the zero that he made in both innings of the match, we are told, but also the continued decline of the relationship that he has with other members of the squad, which West Indies team officials have said was contributing to discord among members.

We know for sure that Mr Samuels does not share good relations with a majority of the members of the West Indies team, top among them Mr Chris Gayle, with whom he enjoyed a seemingly inseparable friendship up to last year.

That, too, appears to be the case with Mr Samuels and members of the Jamaica national cricket team, as according to our sources, only Messrs Sheldon Cotterell and Carlton Baugh Jnr, both of whom have represented the West Indies, get on well with him.

The claim of a breakdown in relationship between Mr Samuels and members of the Jamaica and the West Indies teams, is one that we take seriously and ought to be addressed publicly by the West Indies Cricket Board, if rampant speculation on the matter is to be reduced.

Mr Samuels is an incredible talent, starting from his days as an outstanding cricketer at Kingston College, through his time as a member of Jamaica's team that won the first West Indies Under 15 tournament, the regional Under 19 competition and into his playing days for Jamaica and the West Indies.

Readers will recall that he made his debut for the West Indies as a 19-year-old on a tour of Australia in 2000, despite playing only one match before for the land of his birth in 1996.

Mr Samuels rose above his controversial two-year ban by the International Cricket Council in 2008 to re-stake his claim as a cricketer of class and merit upon his return to the crease in 2010. Even a ban on the bowling of his faster ball last year, we believe, was not enough to affect the career of one who promised to deliver so much.

Who can forget his brilliant performance that guided the West Indies to victory over Sri Lanka in the Twenty/20 World Cup held in 2012, and he being named one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 2013?

The 33-year-old Mr Samuels has so far played 52 Test matches, while averaging 34.68 from 2,983 runs. On the one-day international circuit, Mr Samuels, a man whose elegance typifies his batting, has played 159 times and scored 3,951 runs at a 31.35 average. In the more exciting Twenty/20 international format, he has scored 834 runs from his 35 matches for the West Indies.

For his sake, we hope that those figures do not remain fixed in history.





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