Samuels, WICB agree to await int'l return
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
Marlon Samuels turned down an offer to play in the World Cup being staged in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh because he felt he was not ready to return to the international game just yet.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) disclosed yesterday that the 30-year-old from Jamaica had been considered as a replacement for the injured Dwayne Bravo and had been approached.
Following discussions between Samuels and chairman of selectors Clyde Butts, it was agreed that he would be better served continuing to play in the regional first-class tournament as he continues his return, following a two-year ban for links with an Indian bookmaker.
"I thanked Mr Butts for the consideration of the selectors and am honoured that they would have me in mind after such a short time returning to cricket," said Samuels in a media release from the WICB.
"I am not yet ready to return to the international arena," said Samuels. "I am now getting back into competitive cricket and while I am scoring runs at the moment, the regional level and the international level are very different.
"The selectors and I agree that I need to concentrate on playing at the first-class level and focus on getting all aspects of my game back to a suitable standard and recover my appetite for scoring runs."
A WICB disciplinary committee banned Samuels three years ago for passing on team information during a one-day international series in India in January 2007 to an Indian bookmaker Mukesh Kochar, and later approaching him to pay a hotel bill.
Since his return to regional cricket last year, he has been the leading scorer in the Caribbean Twenty20 Championship in January and currently is the most prolific batsman in the regional first-class championship.
"Marlon has shown good form with the bat, but he agrees with the selection committee that to return to international cricket at this stage, particularly in the high pressure situation of the World Cup would be too rushed," said Butts. "We had a healthy and positive discussion with Marlon about where he is and how he should proceed and we are exactly on the same page."
Reports in sections of the regional media have also indicated that concern about what might await him should he return to India also caused Samuels to shun the chance to play in the World Cup.
It has been suggested that Samuels has taken the same course of South Africans Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, who were implicated in a match-fixing scandal that led to a life ban for late national captain Hansie Cronje.
They chose not to return to India for fear of arrest, until they were given assurances by the Indian police that they would not face further questioning on the matter.
Recently, wicketkeeper/batsman Zulqarnain Haider abandoned the Pakistan team in Dubai and flew to London, claiming he received death threats from Indian bookies after he led the national side to victory against the Proteas.
Bravo was ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury and uncapped Guyanese leg-spinner Davendra Bishoo will replace him in the squad.