Two-time World T20 winner Samuels retires from professional cricket

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Marlon Samuels, the West Indies batsman who top-scored in both of their World T20 final victories, has retired from professional cricket.

Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies chief executive, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Samuels had told CWI of his retirement in June, having last played in December 2018.

While Samuels’ career ends with underwhelming batting averages, he was always a man for the big occasion, as he proved in both of West Indies’ World T20 wins.

Perhaps his finest innings came in the 2012 final in Colombo, when he saw off and then took down two of the format’s premier limited-overs bowlers at the time in Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga respectively. Samuels was on 20 off 32 balls after 10 overs of West Indies’ innings, with the team score just 32-2, before launching a stunning assault on Malinga to finish on 78 off 56 balls. He then took 1-15 to seal a comfortable win.

Four years later, he became the only man to be player of the match in two ICC global finals, hitting 85 not out off 66 balls to seal a four-wicket win against England in Kolkata.

His best batting performances were not limited to the shortest format. He scored a maiden Test hundred at Eden Gardens as a 21-year-old and had a dominant period against the red ball which saw him top score in a series defeat in England in 2012, as well as making 260 – his highest Test score – in Bangladesh later that year. In ODI cricket, he still holds the record for the highest partnership for any wicket – 372 with Chris Gayle, against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup.

Across formats, he made 11,134 international runs including 17 centuries, and took 152 wickets with his quick off-breaks. He also represented several T20 franchises around the world later in his career, including Pune Warriors, Delhi Daredevils, Melbourne Renegades and Peshawar Zalmi.

No stranger to controversy, Samuels defied a team curfew in India in 2002 and was almost sent home, and was banned for two years from 2008 by the ICC after he was found guilty of “receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute”.

During West Indies’ aborted 2014 tour of India, he was the only player to take a public stance against ODI captain Dwayne Bravo, and claimed he had wanted to complete the series.

Samuels was never afraid to stand his ground and have his say. One defining image of his career would come at the media briefing after leading West Indies to the 2016 World T20 title against England. Samuels arrived on his own, sat sideways, pads still on, spikes on the table, and spoke his mind.

Andre Russell, Samuels’ countryman from Jamaica, disapproved of Samuel’s gesture. Recounting the incident during the 2016 IPL, Russell called Samuels a “different Jamaican” but summed up his former teammate appropriately: “He is a confident fellow.” (ESPNCricinfo)

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