Thursday, April 18, 2024

Samuels, the comeback kid


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Marlon Samuels is relishing his new tag – comeback kid.
The 32-year-old maintained his comeback image with a career Test best bowling performance to help West Indies restrict Zimbabwe to a modest 211 on the opening day of the first Test at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Samuels, playing his first international match since missing the ODI tour of Australia because of eye damage sustained in the Big Bash in Australia towards the end of last year, was one of two bowling heroes for the home side, grabbing four for 13.
“At this moment you can call me the comeback kid ’cause I make a lot of comebacks. I just enjoy coming back. It shows the character of the person and the strength,” he told reporters.
“For me coming back into the set-up, the welcome was wonderful, so it’s just for me to come back and fit in.”
He and fellow off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who took three wickets, were effective in conditions the former described as good for both batsmen and bowlers.
“If you work hard as a batsman you’ll get some runs. A couple of balls were very quick and a few held up, so it is a pitch that you have to apply yourself and runs will definitely come,” he said.
Samuels’ excellent form over the past couple of seasons followed a period of two years away from the game and once again yesterday he showed his versatility and tremendous value to the side on a day when fast bowlers found little help from the pitch.
“Everyone is looking forward to blast them out but it never happened and it was wonderful bowling from Shillingford. The slower you bowl on the wicket, you get some bounce as well,” he said. “After facing those fast bowlers, I think they may have been too relaxed against the spin as well.”
Samuels, who also took a brilliant catch at gully in the morning session, claims to enjoy every aspect of cricket and is now looking forward to contributing with the bat as West Indies look to establish a strong position despite a shaky start.
“My form hasn’t gone anywhere. I’ve been injured. It was a time for me to sit back and spend some time with the family and reflect on what I have been doing around the world.
“So I used that moment to look at my work . . . and just reflect and put myself back in a position to compete and achieve the goals that I set out to get in international cricket,” he said.
“I have fun with batting, fielding and bowling. Whenever I get the chance to bowl, I just enjoy it. I am just having fun and enjoying the atmosphere in international cricket. It’s a lovely feeling to be back.”


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