Relief for Samuels after 'a lot of tough times'
Marlon Samuels walked into the post-final press conference with the serious air of a man who had suffered and had come back to script an achievement so rare and so stunning that a jaunty expression might belittle his accomplishment. About the only time he broke into bit of a smile was when he spoke about taking on Lasith Malinga.
Samuels has had a mercurial career, having also been banned for two years in 2008 for actions that could bring him or the game into disrepute. He spoke of how difficult a time it had been. "The career has been up and down," Samuels said. "There have been a lot of tough times. I dealt with them in simple ways and tried to let them pass. Being under pressure on a cricket field is nothing compared to what I've been through off the field.
"As my mentor always said to me, everything that happened to me in life is because I'm important. I'm not someone that will ever give up. I never say die. The person that I am deep down inside is the reason why I am still here playing cricket. I have a family that believes in me. If outsiders don't, it doesn't really matter to me."
Samuels said the World Twenty20 triumph had shown to the world that West Indies cricket was back, and hoped that would bring back a lot of fans to watch the team. "We haven't been winning any major title for years now," Samuels said. "This is a great achievement, for past cricketers and for these cricketers who have bonded together to form a strong unit."
"In the past, we had some near misses but nevertheless, God willing, we came out on top. This is T20, but it can bring a lot of fans to watch us. Around the world, people still love to watch West Indies cricket. It is wonderful to bring back new people and people who have been watching cricket for a long time.
"We will celebrate as long as possible and enjoy the moment. This is a moment to cherish, and cherish forever. The entire Caribbean embraces it [the trophy]. The sky is the limit and words can't really explain it. It means the world to us."
Samuels was almost single-handedly responsible for West Indies getting to 137 for 6 after they had been 32 for 2 at the halfway mark. Half of his 78 runs came in just 11 deliveries against Lasith Malinga, who he hit for five sixes and a four. "I was waiting there for someone to come and build a partnership," Samuels said. "Since that did not happen, I decided to take on Malinga. From last night, I was playing Malinga in my mind and I decided to take him on.
"I only faced him one time [in the IPL] in the first game against Mumbai [Indians], and he got me out bowled," Samuels said. "I was very upset. This was my time today to get back at him."
Once West Indies had got close to 140, Samuels was confident of their chances. "Having batted most of the overs on the pitch, my advice was that it was still a challenging total," he said. "The pitch was a tough one. As long as we could get some quick wickets and put the pressure on Sri Lanka, it would work in our favour."
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo