Samuels is ready to do whatever he can to help the West Indies become a dominant power once again
West Indies all-rounder has admitted that this controversial past is what spurs him on to prove his critics wrong today, and added that he will keep doing it until the end of his international career.
After being reinstated into the national squad in 2011, Samuels has been on an outstanding run, and recently, he even picked up the Man of the Match award in the finals of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka.
Speaking exclusively to the Indian Express, Samuels said: “I will insist that I wasn’t allowed to [live up to my potential], I have had some good runs with the bat in the past too. But the system back home didn’t let me build on them. I wasn’t selected consistently enough. They’re trying to back me again since my return. That’s what they should have done back in 2002. Nevertheless, it’s never too late. I am a survivor. A fighter. And once the sun rises from the darkness, the rainbow I see is red, green and gold.”
In 2008, Samuels was banned for two years after being accused of having dealt with a bookie about illegal betting.
Before he was banned, Samuels had an average of just over 30 in ODIs, but upon his return in 2011, Samuels has been averaging 50.25 in 13 the Test matches he has played and his ODI and Twenty20 averages are also on the rise.
Samuels has also added three centuries across all formats to his name since his return,
Samuels also noted that he still has a lot of pent up frustration from his controversial ban in 2008.
“I carry it with me. It helps to motivate me. It stems from the two years I was away. I’ve had a wonderful run across all three formats since my return, when you see my face on the field, and I look angry, that means I am really focused. I am in my zone then. Once the match is over, I love to have a drink or two and laugh a lot. Chris [Gayle] and I sit around and talk a lot of rubbish. All day long, and all night long. But once I cross the ropes, and get onto the field it’s war,” Samuels added.
When asked if he changed his approach at all upon making his comeback to international cricket, Samuels said: “There’s not much I have changed about my cricket. It’s the mindset that has changed. I have had many ups and downs, and I have fought through. If I wasn’t strong enough, I would have given up the game a long time back. And now the time is here to express myself in the best way possible. I am playing free cricket and that’s what is helping me now.”
Samuels stated that he was also aware of the role he had been brought in to play, which is to help build a solid base for the middle order.
“It’s all about picturising every situation possible on the eve of the match. Good and bad. So that when you face them during the match, you are ready to overcome them. I call it playing the game before it starts. Having a daughter was one of the best things that could have happened to me. That’s taught me how precious this life is. But being a senior member of the team has helped immensely,” Samuels added.
Samuels will now be accompanying the national team to Bangladesh where the two nations are set to square off in two Test matches, five ODIs and one Twenty20 International.