Cricket for me is basically fun - Samuels
Marlon Samuels was delighted to return to international cricket with a four-wicket haul that helped restrict Zimbabwe to 211 in the Barbados Test, saying he could be called "comeback kid" after the number of comebacks he has made in his career. For him, he said, cricket was all about enjoyment, and that showed through in his keenness to contribute in all departments.
"Cricket for me is basically fun, with batting, fielding, bowling. Whenever I get a chance to bowl I enjoy it. They call me 'lucky arm' now, I've been picking up some wickets recently. I'm just having fun and enjoying being back in international cricket," Samuels said at the end of the first day's play in Bridgetown.
Zimbabwe chose to bat, and seemed to building a solid platform at 100 for 2, before the introduction of offspinner Shane Shillingford turned the innings. They lost eight wickets for 111 runs, with Shillingford and Samuels claiming seven between them.
Samuels struck with his first ball, bowling Craig Ervine for 29. "He just pushed the wrong line and missed it. He had wanted me to bowl to him in a practice game, I told him I didn't want to bowl," Samuels said with a laugh. "So I finally got to bowl to him and got him out first ball, it was great."
The Zimbabwe batsmen, he said, might have been a bit complacent after seeing off the pacy trio of quicks - Tino Best, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel. "After Zimbabwe faced our fast bowlers, maybe they became a bit relaxed against our slower bowlers. Everyone was looking [for us] to blast out the Zimbabwe batsman, but that didn't happen today.
"There was some wonderful bowling by Shillingford. He showed that the slower you bowled on the wicket you could also get some bounce as well and he did a great job."
But the day was not all rosy for West Indies, as they lost two wickets cheaply in reply (including nightwatchman Roach), going to stumps on 18 for 2. The pitch demands that their batsmen work hard on day two, Samuels said: "A couple of balls were very quick and a couple held up, so it's a pitch where you have to apply yourself and runs will come. If you work hard as a batsman you'll get some runs.
"Runs on the board are already on the board. So we need to get past it [Zimbabwe's total] first and then we'll see where it goes from there."
Samuels is back for West Indies following two months out due to a facial injury; he was struck on the face by a Lasith Malinga delivery at the Big Bash League in Australia in early January. The time away helped him reassess his game, he said. "It was time for me to sit back and relax with the family, and reflect on what I've been doing around the world. I used the time to reflect on my work and put myself back in a position to achieve the goals I set out to get in international cricket."