Friday, August 17, 2012

All Hail The New and Improved Marlon Samuels!

The last 50 years of the West Indies has almost been Biblical with near on 30 years of cavalier mastery and dominance highlighted by some of the most breath taking and charismatic figures in the games history. Then as glorious as the great times were the next 20 years were a perpetual wasteland of toil and virtual oblivion with players and administrators going for each others jugulars killing anything that might be of promise in the Region.

2012 saw a new hope with both the warring parties relenting to allow exiled players passage back into the Team. Two, in the virtual rock star of the Caribbean in Chris Gayle and the tried and true  Shiv Chanderpaul compelled the fans to clear their collective throats and celebrate in kind. A third one in Marlon Samuels was greeted by silence and derision in some quarters for his career of chronic teasing culminating ultimately in under achievement and 
a perceived Cool Cat no care demeanour that smacked of immaturity and gave the impression of ambivalence .

A third factor was the connection with corruption and an associated 2 year ban that was meant to be Samuels obituary but quite to the contrary as seen in his own words of recollection

'But I didn’t do anything wrong and that gave me more strength to come back and show people that this ban didn’t kill me, it built me. It made me a stronger man and I’m raising the bar higher now.  I am training hard and my work ethic has gone up. 

'The two years that were taken away from me worked wonders for me because it enabled me to look at myself. I never thought of quitting.'

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2012 has indeed  seen the burial of the Samuels, but that of the one that so many scorned and replaced with the one of potential mastery that so many touted. His exceptional average of 84.14 this year shows that, but it is more about how he has played and the aura that he has exuded that has told a truer tale. He has made us revisit the greatness of the past where Calypso batsmen had a commandeering dominance over the opposition due to his mastery of any situation. Coupled with his unshakable belief. To put it in context in attack he has resembled the languid elegance of a great from the past in Lawrence Rowe ( pictured ) with how he just seemed to caress the ball only for it rocket and dent the picket or fly high into the appreciative crowd and then in defence has resembled a Wisden Almanacks model

His compelling renaissance and effect on games was encapsulated in the respect shown to him from the English players after he dominated them in averaging 96.5 in a 3 Test series recently. Where the battle between him and one of the best fast bowlers in World Cricket in Jimmy Anderson being edge of your seat theatre. Despite displaying all his bowling mastery and being supported by a very accomplished support cast in helpful home confines Samuels was almost dismissive of everything Anderson served up to him. 
The crowd brought into him with them jumping to their feet to applaud every chance they got in recognition of his exceptional exploits that were embodied in his thirst for a fight despite the odds. As if it was a War and he was more than willing to die for his beloved West Indies.

Truly awe inspiring and exuding of real leadership and inspiration for his Team mates.

Many of his detractors saw this as merely another tease from Samuels that would garner belief only for him to invariably let them down further down the track. The New Zealand tour at home was a perfect banana peel for him and the fingers were ready at key board to judge him after a less than stellar first Test in Antigua on a batting paradise.

Only to be silenced indelibly during his fluent master class of 123 and game winning 52 in the the second innings in his home of Jamaica. Where he not only dazzled with his fluency and inspired with his resoluteness, but then endeared in the aftermath of the win with his patriotism

"Most definitely, this is for Jamaica, the die-hard fans."

Showing his immense care for the fans and a real desire to bring them better times for which he sees as their birthright.

That real passion is the centre point of the man as you see as you delve deeper into him and see his real adherence to the games basics and traditions

'If I’d been available for the whole IPL season I’m sure I would have gone for double the money but I wanted to come here and play against the No 1 team because I have more than just a point to prove. Sometimes it’s not about cash,' he said.

'I’m not just batting for my family. I’m batting for the missing time and I want to be the No 1 batsman in the world. I’ve been stopped in my tracks many times but I’ve never lost sight of my aims and my goals. 

'I like Twenty20. It’s fun. And I like the one-dayers. But Test cricket is the best cricket. And Test cricket shows the real quality of the batsman. When you look at the archives and look at the great players it is Test cricket they are remembered for.'

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Words that jump out and give you chicken skin for they exude of desire, determination and inspiration that compels you to believe and want to invest in him with your support and faith

Just quietly....he would make a fine West Indian Test Captain in the future..............!

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