What’s the story?
Enigmatic batsman Marlon Samuels is considering a Kolpak deal with Derbyshire after he was dropped from the West Indies squad for the upcoming 3-match ODI series against England. The 36-year old had opted to miss the Regional Super50 tournament in favour of participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
According to the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) policy, it is mandatory to feature throughout in the Caribbean region’s premier domestic competition in that particular format in order to be eligible for selection for the national team.
“I've got a Kolpak deal on my plate which I'm contemplating. It's a three-year deal with Derbyshire worth probably £120,000-130,000 a year. The money is not the issue at the moment, I've been playing international cricket the last 17 years so have set myself the right way.
“This is about principle, about being loyal. I've been a loyal soldier for West Indies cricket and (want to) continue to play. I showed some loyalty, so I expect a bit of loyalty. I'm only the one from 2000 still here, sticking round and playing for the West Indies”, Samuels told SportMax Zone.
Questioning the purpose behind WICB’s helping hand in remodelling his bowling action, he ruminated, “I didn't pay for my bowling. ICC didn't pay for my bowling. The West Indies Cricket Board paid for my bowling. So, they invested in my bowling for me to come back to bowl against England. Now I'm going to hear that I've to stay and play all the Super50 games.”
In case you didn’t know...
Samuels played a couple of matches for Leeward Islands in the Regional Super50 event. After being cleared to resume bowling by the International Cricket Council (ICC), he was preparing to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take part in 2017 edition of the PSL. He had been picked up in the replacement draft by Peshawar Zalmi.
The heart of the matter
Though WICB President Dave Cameron had earlier indicated that the board’s policy on players’ domestic participation could be reviewed to facilitate better relations between the two parties. However, no development has risen on the issue which meant Samuels found himself left out of the West Indies squad for the England ODIs.
Last year, the all-rounder had declined signing a retainer contract with WICB after he was reportedly demoted to Grade C ($115,000). Upon claiming that he was offered more than double of the contract’s worth for playing in the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Samuels urged WICB to learn from the likes of England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) who do not sideline players for featuring in overseas T20 leagues.
With the 2017 County season set to begin from April, Samuels may not have that much time to decide on his future. However, the right-hander insisted that he was in ‘no hurry’ to sign the contract as he already has the Hong Kong T20 Blitz lined up after the PSL.
Following Brexit, there has been an increasing trend of foreign players signing Kolpak deals. With WICB notorious for not managing their big names properly, the likes of Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin could join Samuels in pondering a move to England.
Given that leading South African cricketers such as Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw and David Wiese have already signed Kolpak deals, international cricket cannot afford to lose more players of the calibre of Samuels. It’s imperative that the game’s governing body resolves the issue by deliberating with all stakeholders.Published 23 Feb 2017, 23:06 IST