Marlon Samuels doesn’t boast of big numbers. In his 14th year in international cricket, he has just a few hundred runs more than four thousand runs, a modest average of 32 and centuries that can be counted on fingertips. Yet, each time Samuels walks out to bat there is hope and belief that his hard-hitting capabilities would take center stage and hold meaning at the end of the day. (Also Read: Report: India vs West Indies, 1st ODI)
It has been 12 years since Samuels last scored a century in India. It was way back in 2002 in Vijayawada. His unbeaten 126 in Kochi was just a flashback of that innings. Same man, same style, same prowess and the same result – a match-winning century. Batting at No.4, Samuels carried his bat through the innings to help West Indies to a formidable total of 321. To double up his batting efforts, he picked up two wickets with the ball; one of them included the all important wicket of Shikhar Dhawan who was trying to hold together a faltering Indian innings. (Also Read: Stats Highlights: Ind vs WI, 1st ODI)
Parched throats, sweaty palms and an enthusiastic and passionate bunch that had gathered at the Jawaharlal stadium in Kochi got their money’s worth, courtesy of a Marlon Samuels blinder on Wednesday. In a candid chat with bcci.tv, Samuels spoke about finding form and his hunger for more success in this series.
Excerpts from the interview
Runs, wickets and a win for the side. Now that’s what you call a good day in the office, isn’t it?
Definitely. As I have always said, if you score runs and your team wins, those runs are always great runs. If you score a hundred and your team loses it is never a good feeling. I take life easy and take life as it comes. I am satisfied with my performance but I am hungry. I still want a lot more runs in the series.
Your maiden ODI century came in India in 2002 and your team won. Does it almost feel like a repeat of 2002 in 2014?
(Smiles) I have played a lot of match-winning innings for the team and I feel very honoured for those times. I don’t count hundreds that do not lead to a winning result for the team. Tonight, scoring a hundred and winning the game for my side is a massive thing for me.
This is just the third ODI you have played this year but you didn’t look as if you could be out of touch.
I haven’t been playing much cricket but I kept my form intact in the Caribbean Premier League. Not just in the CPL, I continued to bat and be in touch back home as well. Coming into today’s game I had a good hit in the practice matches as well, so I have been keeping a tab on my batting. I am just going to continue enjoy batting out there.
How did you prepare yourself for this Indian tour?
I am a firm believer that 95% of the game takes place upstairs (in the mind) and 5% is based on talent. For me it was just about thinking about my game, thinking about the best innings that I have played. Even while traveling to India in the plane I played a lot of good innings in my mind.
You started off slowly but got into your groove later. Did you pick and choose bowlers to target during the innings? You went severe on Amit Mishra.
Amit Mishra is a very good bowler so I tried to just pick him off and made sure that he doesn’t bowl a lot of dot balls to me. I tried to counterattack him and pick him off whenever I could. It was about batting against him in an intelligent way. We knew we had a lot of big hitters lower down the order. I had already planned to bat right through the innings and I knew I could make up in the end even if I had a slow start. It is something that worked for us today.
You shared a 165-run stand with Denesh Ramdin. He sure looks to have hit a purple patch of late.
Definitely. Our partnership was very crucial. Ramdin has been in very good form of late and it was my responsibility to combine my form with his and put up a good total on the board. Our communication was good and the running between the wickets worked for us.
Did you guys always back yourselves to put up such a commendable performance against India today?
It is called self belief. That was the discussion that we had before the start of the game and we took the discussion out on the field and put it into play today. I would like to believe it worked for us.