England in West Indies 2016-17 February 23, 2017

Samuels ponders Kolpak deal after omission from West Indies ODIs


Marlon Samuels wants a compromise after 17 years' service to West Indies cricket © AFP / Getty Images

Marlon Samuels has called on the WICB to "compromise" in their selection policy after he was omitted from West Indies' ODI squad, and suggested he could accept a Kolpak deal in county cricket if an agreement cannot be reached.

Samuels, twice man of the match in World T20 finals, was left out of West Indies' 15-man squad after electing to miss games in the Super 50 competition - the Caribbean regional List A tournament - in order to play in the more lucrative Pakistan Super League. Current WICB policy is that no player will be considered for the international team unless they have made themselves available for the entire regional competition in that format.

But Samuels, who claims he was offered double the value of his previous West Indies retainer contract (worth $135,000) to appear in the BPL, argues that the WICB could learn from the example of the boards of New Zealand and England, who allow their players to appear in overseas T20 leagues without it rendering them ineligible for international cricket. Late last year, Samuels was one of the three players - along with Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite - to decline the WICB retainer. It is understood that Samuels was offered a Grade C contract worth $115,000, demoting him from the previous Grade B.

"Why can't I play some games in the PSL and come back and play against England?" Samuels asked in an interview with SportMax Zone, a Jamaica-based television network. "I'm not 20. You're still telling me to miss out on everything. Why can't you compromise?

"The rule they have doesn't make any sense. You have to compromise. Eoin Morgan, the England captain, is playing in the PSL and then he goes to the Caribbean. Why can't I do the same? Why play hard ball in everything?"

While there is some logic in the WICB stance - they insist that, to retain the strength of their regional competitions, their best players must participate - the reality of the policy has been to deny them many of their best players. Players such as Samuels, who is aged 36, and aware of the diminishing opportunities he may have to earn for his retirement, can earn far more on the T20 circuit than the WICB can afford to pay in retainers. Sunil Narine, ranked third in the ICC's ODI bowling rankings, is another who has been deemed ineligible.

The ECB, by contrast, has actively encouraged some players to take part in the IPL during the county season - they have even allowed the likes of Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes to skip two ODIs against Ireland - reasoning that the benefits of the experience will outweigh the negatives of the dilution of their own domestic product. There might also be an acceptance that the value of central contracts cannot keep pace with the escalation in T20 fees and that, as a result, compromise is required.

The money is not the issue at the moment, I've been playing international cricket the last 17 years so have set myself the right way. This is about principle, about being loyal.

While Dave Cameron, the president of the WICB, recently stated the board's selection policy could be reviewed, the selection of the ODI squad to play England suggests there has been no change in the short term.

Samuels has not played for West Indies since the Pakistan tour in the UAE last year, and was dropped for the tri-series in Zimbabwe. He was especially surprised at his omission from the three-match ODI series against England given WICB's recent investment in him when the board paid for his travel to England for his bowling action to be tested. That trip proved fruitful as the ICC cleared Samuels to bowl in international cricket once again.

"I didn't pay for my bowling. ICC didn't pay for my bowling .The West Indies Cricket Board paid for my bowling. So they invested in my bowling for me to come back to bowl against England. Now I'm going to hear that I've to stay and play all the Super50 games."

Incidentally, Samuels ended up playing just one match for Leewards Islands in the Super50 before he left to play in the PSL.

Samuels also revealed that he has been offered a three-year Kolpak deal by Derbyshire worth up to £130,000 a season, fuelling concerns that West Indies could be hit by a spate of international retirements of the sort that recently shocked South African cricket. While it is understood he has indicated a reluctance to accept the deal - he would prefer a deal as an overseas player in county cricket, thereby sustaining his hopes of playing international cricket - he has suggested it remains on the table.

Samuels asserted that, for him, it is loyalty to West Indies that comes first, which was evident in his 17 years' service in Caribbean cricket. "I've got a Kolpak deal on my plate which I'm contemplating," he said. "It's a three-year deal with Derbyshire. Worth probably £120,000-130,000 a year. The money is not the issue at the moment, I've been playing international cricket the last 17 years so have set myself the right way. This is about principle, about being loyal. I've been a loyal soldier for West Indies cricket and continue to play. I showed some loyalty, so I expect a bit of loyalty. I'm only the one from 2000 still here, sticking round and playing for the West Indies."

Samuels said he was in "no rush" to sign the Derbyshire deal as, after the PSL, he would travel to play another league in Hong Kong and had a "few other deals" in the bag.

Samuels is unlikely to be the only Caribbean player attracting interest from England's first-class counties. Darren Bravo, whose relationship with WICB would appear to be in tatters following a public falling-out with Cameron, is one who is certain to be snapped up if he decides to go that route, while fellow Trinidadian Denesh Ramdin is also understood to be of interest.

Ravi Rampaul, the second highest wicket-taker in this year's Super 50, is already on a Kolpak deal with Surrey, while former West Indies captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was second in the batting averages, has recently signed a similar deal with Lancashire. Fidel Edwards is also signed to Hampshire as a Kolpak, Other players such as Jofra Archer, Keith Barker and Chris Jordan have also chosen to pursue their careers in England when they could have been eligible for West Indies.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Len on February 27, 2017, 14:48 GMT

    Let's look at Samuel's credentials for playing one day cricket. Firstly, he has made it abundantly clear that he does not like or want to field when WIndies are not batting. Secondly, he REFUSES to push for quick singles and if his batting partner continues to call him for quick singles, then he will deliberately run them out! Thirdly he throws his deliveries (even if he is cleared) and in any case, he bowls just a load pies that batsmen will hit! And fourthly, his allround attitude to playing professional cricket stinks to high heaven and he should be nowhere near an international team whether its Test, 1 dayer or 20/20.

  • Anil Hira on February 27, 2017, 10:44 GMT

    It just a matter of time. I knew your turn would come soon. Especially the way how they treated shivenanrine Chanderpaul. And even NO ONE STAND. This man only for himself.

    ONE team stands up fort HIM

  • shinet3915476 on February 26, 2017, 23:30 GMT

    Wellll what do you know the kolpak deal is off the table. I guess a lot of you will find a way to blame Dave Cameron and the Board for that too.

  • Sudhakar on February 25, 2017, 8:20 GMT

    There is no doubt on the talent that Marlon Samuels possessed (or still possesses). Sadly his demeanor seems to suggest that he cares only about himself and is not really a team man. For the future of WI to thrive, it is important that they have a "team" play and not play a set of talented individuals. The concept of team unity is rather more important for the WI since they're already comprised of several "countries" and the natural unifying factor is missing. In some sense WICB has been consistent in showing the doors for the likes of Chris Gayle and Dwayn Bravo in the past and Marlon Samuels joins the club. In my view.. "good decision".

  • M on February 25, 2017, 1:54 GMT

    People tend to forget that Samuels has averaged 46.5 in ODIs since 2013 at a SR of 80. This is near the top in the world and in ODIs, he hasn't had the bad form he's been having in tests. My feeling is that he's been dropped from all WI squads based on his test performances. While he should be nowhere near the test team again, he still deserves ODI and T20 selection. Another point: Samuels had actually played 2 matches in the Super50, and missed a couple to go to England regarding his action. It must be noted that he went to England WHILE the Super50 was going on. And Samuels only went to the PSL at the back end of the Super50, so it's not like he missed the whole tournament. He still deserves selection. Having said that, his comparisons with the England domestic season is unfair due to the standards of the different boards and length of the season. Now, it seems that after his comments, Derby has withdrawn their interests in recruiting Samuels. Now he ends up with nothing.

  • shinet3915476 on February 24, 2017, 22:52 GMT

    ZXZXZ4268 so that they can make a proper living ? So what about the mere mortals who have to work until their mid 60s for a crappy pension? They raise families on a hell of a lot less than anything these guys make. If they plan wisely they will be more than fine. Heresy the reality every where else the international players play domestic cricket when they are available from international cricket. No body has to force them . Last year Australia recalled a number of players from the IPL without any fuss. So tell me again why we should have to enforce a rule.

  • Josiah on February 24, 2017, 20:13 GMT

    @zxzxz4268 the WICB already had a dedicated window for players to participate in ipl. for this they sacrificed the time of the year they earn the most revenue from hosting games. players cannot expect to play in every t20 league that pops up and leave domestic and international cricket as an afterthought, especially when these players also earn a lot of money from the domestic CPL, then cry about not being selected when WICB decides to pick players who perform in domestic cricket.

  • Josiah on February 24, 2017, 20:09 GMT

    @zxzxz4268 the WICB already has a dedicated window for IPL cricket.

  •   Maximillian Von Kleist on February 24, 2017, 19:22 GMT

    3900 runs in 17 years at an average of 32.Young man WI cricket has been loyal to you.That record is abysmal so dont get it twisted - Yes u have stayed while the others got 'injured' after 20/20 came on the scene and left but still..

  • Zxzxz4268 on February 24, 2017, 18:25 GMT

    @CRICUSER... as I said in my 2nd post, he does not merit a place in the team and should have been dropped a long time ago.... and the only sport that have national trials to represent team is track and field which usually takes place for a single weekend and has no negative effect on them financial... so that point u made is useless... why don't the nation's pick all the players that play the other sports strictly from their domestic competitions..? point is, allow these people to earn a proper living so that when they're too old to use their talents they will be able to live a comfortable lifestyle

  • No featured comments at the moment.