Samuels salutes long-awaited ton
MARLON Samuels copped the Player-of-the-Match award after an outstanding all-round exhibition in the West Indies’ win over New Zealand yesterday and continued with a dismissive parting shot at his critics in the post-match press conference.
The elegant Jamaican right-hander scored his third One-Day International (ODI) century and took 2-46 as the regional team strode to a 55-run victory at Sabina Park to take a 2-0 lead in the series heading to St Kitts.
The confident 31-year-old hailed Jamaica’s impending 50th Anniversary before explaining his extraordinarily animated celebrations upon reaching his ton.
“First of all, I want to say happy anniversary when it comes to my people (and) to my entire country,” he told media personnel yesterday.
“…That (century) celebration was... I scored a lot of runs in England and the question was asked about my one-day form. I’m not worried about my one-day form, so getting a century here answers that and it means a lot to me.”
The unbeaten 101, littered with classy off-drives, was Samuels’ maiden international ton on home soil and first in ODIs since 2006.
Asked about the quality of the knock, Samuels maintained his forceful approach.
“I don’t rate any (of my centuries). I leave that to the media and the true, diehearted fans and even the ‘haters’ as well,” he said with a smirk.
Samuels, who represents Melbourne CC locally, eventually conceded that the achievement was particularly special given the support he had at the ground and credited the company of Chris Gayle during their thrilling 129-run third wicket stand.
“It was extra-special because everybody, including my father and others who have been in my life, were here (watching).
“I usually make centuries outside of my comfort zone and this is my comfort zone so… even batting with Chris there. I haven’t batted with Chris for a while and it was fun and I definitely enjoyed the support,” he said.
Samuels, who averages 30.62 in 134 ODIs, has enjoyed a rich spell of form since the Test tour of England, where he finished as the top runscorer on either team.