A Damn Fine Reason to Watch Cricket

So, you haven't heard of #Marlon Samuels yet? Don't worry, you will.
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So, you haven’t heard of yet? Don’t worry, you will. Although only nineteen years old, the delectable Samuels has played at every other conceivable level for the West Indies and it’s only a matter of time before he is on the headlines of 7m. The rising young allrounder out of Jamaica has the kind of talent that refuses to be ignored and surely won’t be for long. For his part, the recent vice captain of the W.I. under-19 team is not-so-quietly confident about his all-round abilities. Questioned as to what he considers to be his strength in cricket, he responded laughingly: “hmm… batting… bowling… fielding.” Asked to be more specific, Samuels confirmed that his main strength is his batting and confidently declare that he was equally strong batting through both sides of the wicket. When I warned him that I could find out whether this was true or not, the effervescent young man wasn’t the least bit bothered.

Grinning he shot back, “…So, you didn’t see the [1999 Nortel under-19 One day tournament] finals against Barbados? Didn’t see I was going both sides of the wicket?” Indeed I had seen the finals in which the Jamaican boys thrashed our team. Samuels was more than happy to stir up old memories. He recalled with relish, “I played two shots over cover and two outside the ground through midwicket… all over the ground, mon.”

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Even with a business of running a custom golf balls industry, cricket seems to run in the blood of the Samuels family. The ‘baby’ in a family of six brothers and three sisters, Marlon is the latest cricketing talent to emerge from the household at Molynes Road, Kingston. He follows in the footsteps of his older brothers, twins Donovan and David and former West Indies batsman, Robert. The four brothers all play for the esteemed Melbourne Cricket Club, which has counted Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh amongst its players. Growing up in the shadows of the club which is next door to the family home, young Marlon “could just jump the fence and go over there”. Despite being “much better at football” at first, the siren call of cricket was too great to resist and from the time he was eight, Marlon was dedicated to the sport.

His ongoing quest to reach the highest level of his chosen sport has taken some sacrifice. He’s had to give up his free time to train and he’s “definitely finished with the nightlife”. Before he finished school last year at Jamaica’s top secondary school, the illustrious Kingston College, he would burn the midnight oil after practice in order to keep up with his studies. He doesn’t get to spend as much time with his family as he used to, due to his frequent travelling. “I used to be home with my family every day and it is not so anymore. I’m like, all over now.” he explained.

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To him the sacrifices are worth it, for it is and has always been his dream to play for the West Indies at the highest level. Samuels firmly believes that hard work and the right attitude will reap rewards. “The young players need to start working hard, like professionals. That’s the only way them going make it to the top,” he declared with conviction.

Cricket has been a major part of his life for a long time. Besides playing for Melbourne, Samuels has also played for the Kingston College cricket team, the West Indies A team, the Jamaican and West Indian under-fifteen teams and the Jamaican and West Indian under-nineteen teams, including the team that went to the Youth World Cup earlier this year. In the last few years, he’s done more travelling than most people do in their whole lives! In his view, the opportunity to travel and meet a diversity of people is the greatest thing about his experience as a cricketer, which he says has given him a different perspective to that of other teenagers. The perspectives aren’t always pleasant to behold. He visited South Africa in 1998, but didn’t like it there, seeing for himself the ugliness left behind by apartheid. “Whites still hate blacks there… It got a lot of clubs that say ‘no blacks’.” he commented, frowning. Sri Lanka was another shock for Samuels. The island nation has been racked by rebel violence over the years. He recalled with wide-eyed amazement, “It’s the first I ever see so much police in all my life. On the road, right through the day and right through the night. And in the night, when you’re driving, every five minutes, the police stop you and ask you where you going.”

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Though his cricketing career takes up a great deal of his time, there is definitely room in the sexy teenager’s life for the finer things of life, like romance. The chocolate cutie said he considers himself to be a very romantic person. He’s the type of guy who likes to take a girl out for a candlelit dinner or go to the movies and hold hands. On the simpler side, he also favours going to the beach to watch the sunset. When it comes to a first date though, his style is simply elegant… no less than dinner at the Pegasus my dears! Hmm… sound tantalizing doesn’t it? Did we mention that he’s single? So what kind of lady would capture his attention? Samuels stated what he admires is “an independent woman” and if she has long hair, beautiful skin and a lot of shape, it wouldn’t hurt her chances.

Definitely seems worth a try, doesn’t it? It’s a pity Jamaica is so far away, because with looks, charm, intelligence and talent, Marlon Samuels is yet another very good reason to watch cricket.

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