Marlon Nathaniel Samuels
February 05, 1981, Kingston, Jamaica
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Top order batsman
Marlon Samuels is a right-hander of immense ability, who has so far struggled to realise his potential, thanks to the various controversies he has been embroiled in. When he started his Test career at 19, without yet representing his native Jamaica in a first-class match, his composure and skill prompted comparisons - quite unfairly - with Viv Richards. His technique was near to faultless, and he exudes a bull-headed confidence - he used to skip his schoolwork on the basis that exams were irrelevant to future Test cricketers.
However, that confidence, which often overflowed into perceived arrogance, has landed him in plenty of trouble. It almost got him sent home from India late in 2002 after he defied a team curfew - but he was kept on, and responded with his a disciplined maiden Test century in Kolkata. His lack of consistency meant he remained an irregular member of the team in the 2000s, but just before his selection for the 2007 World Cup, he was drawn into a major controversy after Nagpur police alleged that he passed on match-related information to an alleged bookie ahead of an ODI against India. He was included in the World Cup squad despite the ICC's investigations into the issue, where he only briefly shone, ending the tournament by running out Brian Lara in his last international innings.
He was called for the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, but the match-fixing allegations reared its head in 2008 when he was found guilty of "receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute." Samuels was subsequently banned for two years, at a time when West Indies desperately needed solidity in their middle-order. He returned to the West Indies Test and ODI teams in 2011, but it was only on the tour to England in 2012 that he finally showed what he was capable of. Against a top-class bowling attack in difficult conditions, Samuels scored 386 runs in five innings, with a century and three fifties, defying the England bowlers every time with his correct technique and classy strokeplay. Later that year came a highlight of his career: a gutsy, snappy 78 in the World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka, which lifted West Indies out of a hole and to their first world title since the 1979 World Cup.
A month after the World T20 triumph, Samuels notched up his first Test double-century, scoring 260 against Bangladesh in Khulna. Consistency eluded him, however, as the big scores were often followed by dips in form and injuries. A facial injury suffered during the Big Bash League in January 2013 ruled him out of West Indies' limited-overs tour to Australia. He picked up a four-for on his return to international cricket against Zimbabwe but his batting form did not improve. Samuels scored just two international hundreds, both in ODIs, in the two seasons following the double-hundred and his lack of form in Tests, and competitions like the World T20, only contributed further to West Indies' struggles. As a result of his poor form, he was dropped after just one Test in the home series against New Zealand in June 2014.
Samuels, who is a handy part-time offspinner, was reported for a suspect action during the second Test against India in Mumbai in November 2013, along with offspinner Shane Shillingford. Following a biomechanical analysis of his action, Samuels was barred from bowling quicker deliveries in international cricket in December 2013.
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