Marlon Samuels is one of the senior-most players in the new looking and inexperienced West Indies Test team and he is well aware of his responsibilities. The West Indies player of the year has been in sensational form in the limited overs format but form deserts him once he dons the white jersey for his team. Interacting with the media before the second Test against India, which begins on Saturday (July 30) at Jamaica, the right-handed batsman said that he needs to focus more to help his team in the longest format of the game. Samuels also spoke of the team’s goals, his retirement plans and much more.
On his form in Test matches:
I haven’t been getting the runs that I’m looking for in the Test arena, but I’ve been making up in the shorter versions, so it augurs well that I’m doing well for the team as well in the next versions. It’s just, I need to start focusing more and putting in some big performances, so the team can benefit from it.
On playing in front of home crowd:
It’s a great opportunity for me. Not too many sportsmen get to play in front of their home crowd. I think I’ve got the opportunity more than one time, so I cherish it – playing in front of a Jamaican crowd. As I said, it’s a great opportunity, not only for me, but for the team to make a turnaround and come here and play some positive cricket and put up not just a challenge but a fight.
On whether there is extra pressure on him because of being a senior player:
To be honest, it’s a lot of pressure. I’m not going to tell you that there’s not a great deal of pressure, because I not only have to stand up and score a fifty or a hundred, I have to actually bat through the innings, because I’m playing a role where I’m batting at four. I have to dominate and know, when we lose a wicket, that I need to tone it down. Sometimes I like to, if I’m on the go, just continue to go, but the responsibility is great, so I have to change. But nevertheless, whenever I get the opportunity to talk in a team meeting, trying to just encourage the younger players to go out there… we need to look at not just senior players doing their job, but for them [youngsters] to come and do the job as well. Because, at the end of the day, they’re going to be the senior players as well.
On whether the team he has any target for the Jamaica Test:
Yeah, definitely. But, the most important thing is to win in front of your home crowd and playing in a unit, and that’s the ultimate goal for me. Personal achievement is definitely coming out here and showing my Jamaican people what they have been seeing over the years – me coming out here, playing shots and just enjoying myself in the middle and I’m sure that will make a lot of people happy as well.
On whether his team can stage a comeback:
Yes, West Indies more than have it in them. They have pride, and as I said, it’s a job. If you don’t do your job well, you’re not going to be around here.
On Jeffrey Dujon’s comments that Samuels might retire after this Test series:
Jeffrey Dujon can say anything. But what I say is, I’m here to focus on the Test series and put my best foot forward, and make a significant contribution, so that, whatever I do, the team can benefit from it. That’s my ultimate goal and that’s my focus at the moment.
On whether Alzarri Joseph can make his debut in the game:
I would definitely play him. He’s Fit, fast and fearless. When are you going to play him, at 25? He’s 19 now, it’s the best time to just let him go and enjoy himself and express himself.