André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
India. It's where the West Indies' Player of the Year, Marlon Samuels, scored his first century; an innings of 104 runs in 2002, which helped the Windies to a draw in their third Test against India in Kokata.
The Caribbean team is coming off six consecutive Test wins and the 32-year-old Jamaican, who has had a strong return to the sport since 2010, is looking to not only confirm his consistency, but also help the team to prove that the recent upturn in results is not a fluke.
"It was another wonderful year. for me to get Cricketer of the Year. It shows that I am consistent and that's how I want it to remain, it's a great achievement," Samuels told The Gleaner from the team's Miami/Orlando-based training and team-building camp ahead of their two-Test and three one-day international series against India, which gets under way on October 31 with a three-day match against Uttar Pradesh in Cuttack.
"It's very important for the team to try and pull off a win in India. It's never easy to win in India, but over the years I set a lot of goals and achieved them; some didn't go as planned, but as you know, I scored my first century in India and during a couple of other tours I went there and scored a lot of runs, so you can call it my hunting ground," Samuels laughed.
"So it's just for me to keep this frame of mind, continue to work hard and I guess the hard work that I have been putting in will help me to accomplish my goals and that consistency that I want," added Samuels, who was also named as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year for 2013.
Meanwhile, Samuels has spent the past few days bonding with his teammates, in a specially arranged team-building exercise, organised by the West Indies Cricket Board.
The camp started out in Orlando on Sunday and moved to Miami on Wednesday, with the cricketers complementing their physical preparations by participating in a number of psychological drills, community outreach activities, social get-togethers, and general bonding exercises.
It's an experience that Samuels is relishing and one that he believes will make the team a stronger unit heading forward.
"It's different. It's out of our comfort zone so to speak. In any team you need team-building; not everyone is going to get along, not everyone will be friends after their careers are over, but team-building exercises are always important for any team to move forward and improve," Samuels said.
"You see the guys in a different environment and stuff like that and you see so many different sides and learn so much about everyone. It's been a good experience for all of us I think," Samuels added.
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