Marlon Nathaniel Samuels, the 35-year-old Jamaican and West Indies cricketer must be one of the most reviled players in world cricket today.
The right-handed middle order batsman made his debut in Test and One Day International in 2000 as a 19-year-old teenager.
Since then he has not only been vilified by cricket pundits and fans alike, but seems to come under greater scrutiny than most West Indies players.
He has had to throw off the shackles of a two year ban on his career, deal with a suspect bowling action, as well as overcome the setbacks of knee and eye injuries at different periods within his career.
The fact that he remains in the game for so long, owes much to his mental fortitude, and certainly shows his mettle and ability to overcome adversities.
Notwithstanding, his critics seek to oust him at every turn of his game.
Recently, Geoff Lawson, a former Australian cricketer is quoted as saying in a piece published in the Indian Express, “Samuels is tied up with some pretty shady people back in the West Indies, he’s a guy you don’t muck around with on or off the field. He’s tied up with the gangs there and it goes well beyond cricket.”
“He resembled a version of an Egyptian mummy and stood as motionless as one. For all his inherent talent and his experience of 15 years of international career, his Test future demands urgent consideration,” said the late Toney Cozier from his commentary position last year in a tour match between West Indies and Australia.
Additionally, Shane Warne former Australian cricketer, now commentator, in his tongue-lashing of Samuels said, “I’ve been a little disappointed with him throughout the whole game. He’s been fielding at deep point, fine leg. There’s been so many things happened that shouldn’t have happened, too many easy singles. He really hasn’t offered the captain or anyone anything. He’s just standing there with his hands in his pockets with lack of interest, no intensity whatsoever. He’s just standing there yawning with his hands in his pockets. Absolutely no intensity, not giving the side anything.”
The fact is Samuels has demonstrated time and again that he is no skettel with the bat and has a record of performance to show that he is no sloth.
In 2013, he was named one of the Wisden cricketers of the year. On two separate occasions his heroics played an integral role in helping West Indies to win the ICC World Twenty20 title.
Additionally, he has been named man of the match in several different encounters against other teams, playing for the West Indies and his home team Jamaica.
He has scored a century in every format of the game and also boasts an average of over 30 in all formats of the game — under performance some may say given his tremendous talent.
Furthermore, Samuels has scored a double century in test and first-class cricket, respectively — scoring 260 runs on both occasions.
Now, fast forward to the current 10-match ODI tri-series in the Caribbean that involve West Indies, South Africa, and Australia.
Samuels has failed to light up the place with his performance in either of the two matches West Indies has played to date.
Consequently, there are calls already among pundits including well respected Caribbean cricket commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira for Samuels to be axed from the team.
The fact is Samuels has just helped West Indies win the ICC World Twenty20 International title, so one cannot help but question the indecent haste in the call for his axing, a player with a proven record of performance.
Moreover, with West Indies operating with an empty cupboard of batting talent, one wonders whether excluding Marlon Samuels from any West Indies team at this time would not be suicidal.
The selectors may have made some missteps in their team selection, but certainly excluding Samuels from the team would be not only a bad move but also a mad one.
Carol Maye, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
Do you want to add feedback to this story? Please add comment in box below.
Like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheReadersBureau
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/readersbureau21