We’ve really warmed to Marlon Samuels a short way into a short series. There are three main reasons for this.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, his favourite cricketer is Nasser Hussain. Anyone with such an inexplicably unlikely role model is someone to be admired.
Secondly, he’s funny. Jimmy Anderson is easy to annoy, but Samuels did it well. Jimmy was visibly frustrated yesterday and rather than say something bland about this at the close of play, Samuels instead gently prodded the bowler. It was funny, but also fairly friendly. He said he’d been holding back and playing for the team up until now, but once he’d passed 200, he wanted Jimmy to give him a bit more lip – the implication being that he’d really let him have it then.
He also added:
“To be honest, I can’t find too many bowlers that can bowl and talk. I can bat and talk all day.”
And then he told Jimmy he was his favourite bowler.
A third reason to like Marlon Samuels is that he seems keen to play for the West Indies. The team themselves are admirably pragmatic about their missing players, refusing to make excuses. All the same, it’s nice to see Samuels forsaking half his IPL contract in favour of batting at six in a Test series against England.
To a degree, Samuels embodies this Windies side. They’re serious about their cricket, but fun and they’re giving England a proper battle that has already been far more intriguing than a few recent series played out in this country.
Speaking of fun, Darren Sammy never stops smiling, even when his team is losing and a host of experts are saying he’s mediocre and shouldn’t be playing. He probably smiles during surgery. This doesn’t leave him much room for manoeuvre when things go right, but he must have been bloody delighted to make that hundred. On Test Match Special, Michael Vaughan fair roared with glee when he reached three figures and we felt much the same.
Well played, the Sams.