West Indies stroke-maker Marlon Samuels said he never wanted to be part of the one-day team’s plan to abandon the tour of India, and revealed he stayed away from most of the players’ meetings during the troubled tour.
Samuels is the first player to speak out about the controversial decision taken by the players. The Jamaican said he was focussed all along on completing the tour and dealing with the contracts and pay issues afterwards, reports CMC.
The West Indies players abandoned the tour following a bitter wrangle with both the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Wavell Hinds-led West Indies Players Association (WIPA) over the new terms of the recently negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Players were unhappy with the new contracts and have claimed they result in a drastic reduction in their earnings.
“Wavell Hinds cannot negotiate on behalf of me so I know that once I continued (to play) – I just needed to finish this tour and then I would have asked questions,” Samuels said in a radio interview on Power 104 FM. “The main thing first was West Indies cricket; that is why I remained focussed throughout everything.”
Samuels was the only bright spot on the tour, smashing two superb centuries to finish the series with 254 runs from three innings.
In the opening game in Kochi which came under threat of strike action from players, Samuels carved out a brilliant unbeaten 126 as the West Indies took a 1-0 lead in the series with a comprehensive 124-run victory. He returned in the fourth ODI in Dharamsala to hit 112 as the West Indies slipped to a 59-run loss.
Off the field, Samuels said he stayed away from most of the players’ meetings. According to the 33-year-old, there were about eight meetings but he attended only two at which chief selector Clive Lloyd was present.
“For most of those meetings ([of the players), I was probably in my room ordering room service. I don’t go to those meetings,” Samuels explained.
“A lot of meetings were kept but I have no time for those meetings. My focus was just on playing some cricket.”
West Indies players walked out on the tour following the fourth ODI, with the scheduled fifth ODI in Kolkata, a Twenty20 in Cuttack and a three-Test series still to be played.
Samuels, who was selected for the tour of India after missing out on Bangladesh’s recent tour of the Caribbean, said he was prepared to play the remaining games.
The West Indies Cricket Board is facing a major fall-out from the players’ decision, with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) planning a multi-million lawsuit over losses and also suspending future bilateral tours between the two countries.