'I'm the legend now' - Samuels
Marlon Samuels has accused Shane Warne of "desperate" behaviour unbecoming for a legend of the game after escaping with a reprimand for his part in an ugly confrontation with Warne during the Big Bash League.
Samuels also called for BBL organisers to adopt a more disciplined attitude towards player behaviour to ensure the right example was set to the family audience that the tournament is so anxious to attract.
"It's not a war, it's a game," he said. "We're here to entertain people, but we're here to show love to one another as cricketers as well.''
Samuels was found guilty of unbecoming behaviour in his confrontation with Warne during the Melbourne derby between the Renegades and the Stars on January 6. He threw his bat away in frustration after he was struck on the body by a return from Warne, but the BBL's Code of Conduct commissioner John Price ruled that he had received "extreme provocation".
Samuels has been recuperating in Australia after suffering a severe facial injury when he failed to hook a bouncer from Lasith Malinga in the same match, but it was his stand-off with Warne which remained on his mind as he spoke about the affair for the first time to The Age.
''There were a lot of kids in the ground - Twenty20 is about family - so I couldn't afford to react in a very bad way," he said. "I was able to come out on top with him behaving the way that he was behaving. He's supposed to be a legend in Australia. What he did was give me the stripes so I am the legend now.''
Warne's aggressive outburst, which involved swearing, finger jabbing and tugging at Samuels' shirt, originated from an incident much earlier in the game in which Samuels seemed to have physically hampered David Hussey's attempts to take a second run. But the charge arising from that incident - that he "engaged in deliberate or inappropriate physical contact with a player or official" - was dismissed.
Warne served a one-game suspension, and was fined $4500, for his clash with Melbourne Renegades player Marlon Samuels. He was fined for a second time on Monday, this time for breaching the CA Code of Behaviour when he handed the captaincy to James Faulkner in an effort to avoid a ban for slow over rates in the semi-final against the Perth Scorchers.
Samuels said Warne had gone too far in trying to unsettle him. ''You can talk in a game and try to get into someone's head, but you don't get physical. That's what he did. He took it to the next level, which was just way overboard. He was a very desperate man doing desperate things. That's not the way you go about it when you're the face of the tournament with kids looking on.''
Samuels was infuriated that only Malinga among the Stars side checked on his welfare as he left the field bleeding from an eye wound, but he praised the support he had received from the Renegades and vowed that he would only represent them in the BBL. From the ugliest of incidents came a rare sign of player loyalty in the money-buys-all world of Twenty20.
"This tournament is a very good tournament, but whoever's running the tournament has to take some positive steps by showing more discipline,'' he said. ''The behaviour is poor. Every game you have people in other people's face. Remember, T20 is for family and kids. You're trying to pull a big crowd. It's not a boxing game."
The same BBL commission cleared Darren Berry, the Adelaide Strikers coach, of unbecoming behaviour when he confronted Samuels earlier in the tournament and offered a pointed critique of the West Indian's bowling action.