|Related Links:||Articles on Windies cricket|
|Letters Menu||Archival Menu|
"Definitely, I will play (this weekend). I'm feeling 100 per cent and I'm being honest," the 22-year-old Samuels said on a radio talk show Tuesday evening. "I will go out there and play for Jamaica and try to get used to three figures as much as possible."
The WICB warned it would "not be responsible for any injury he may suffer" if he plays cricket on the injured left knee, which required a surgical procedure in Sharjah last year.
"(We feel) strongly that it is not in Marlon's best interest for him to play in the upcoming Carib Beer Cricket Series. While we are advising him not to play while carrying this injury, we do not have the authority to prevent him from playing and, regrettably, will not be responsible for any injury he may suffer as a result," the board said.
That statement, issued late Tuesday by acting chief executive Roger Brathwaite, is seen as a direct warning to the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) that Samuels must not be included in the final eleven that plays against the Leewards in Anguilla this weekend.
Behind the scenes, CaribbeanCricket.com has learned that WICB executives at the highest levels are lobbying hard for the JCA to "do the right thing" and get Samuels' knee examined and repaired immediately.
WICB president Wes Hall took a firm stance on the issue. "It would be the quintessence of cricket stupidness for him to play," Hall told the Barbados Nation. He said the WICB had already made arrangements for Samuels to visit New York-based Dr Answorth Allen, adding: "Now that we know immediate plans are in train for him to go, I am sure the authorities will do what is necessary and let Marlon come out of this game."
The cutting of Samuels, first reported by CaribbeanCricket.com, has set off a firestorm of criticisms in his native Jamaica where many (including Samuels) believes he was given the short end of the stick.
"I was honest enough to ask for a second opinion when I was in Antigua. Turns out that the opinion is that I can go ahead (and play in the World Cup) but then it turned out to be something different," Samuels said, insisting his knee is in better shape than it was a few months ago in India, where he scored his maiden Test and ODI centuries.
"Right now, my knee is better than even in India when I was struggling with some pain. I'm feeling 100 per cent. It was never really serious because I actually left all my stuff in Antigua knowing I was going back. I knew within myself it was nothing serious," Samuels explained.
He said Dr Mansingh told him the knee pain could be the result of an ankle injury that he was carrying in India. "He said the reason for me to be feeling a bit of pain in my knee was because I was thinking of the ankle and putting a lot of pressure on it," he added.
On the radio show, former Jamaican middle order batsman Mark Neita and commentator Simon Croskill alluded to double-standards in the way decisions are handed down by the West Indies selectors. "If this had been Brian Lara, do you think they would have dropped him?" Neita asked, suggesting a different standard exists for different players.
Samuels himself speculated on this, noting that other players in the World Cup squad received medical reports with the caveat that they could "break down" at any time. "(Merv) Dillon has that in his report and a lot of the other guys have that in their report," Samuels contended.
Veteran columnist, Tony Becca, who is president of Samuels' club side in Jamaica, went against the grain and suggested it was logical to withdraw the young batsman from the World Cup. "I have a copy of Dr Mansingh's report and, based on what I've seen in there, I would not have picked Marlon to play," Becca said matter-of-factly.
When told that Samuels insists his knee feels 100 per cent, Becca retorted: "Marlon is a cricketer, not a doctor."
Becca maintained that stance in a Jamaica Gleaner article yesterday. "Whatever the feeling of Jamaicans, the important thing is Samuels' future and based on the opinion of a number of doctors who are experts in the field, Dr Mansingh and the West Indies selectors may have done the right thing." (CaribbeanCricket.com)