Saying West Indies had the weapons to counter India in English conditions, Marlon Samuels said the Caribbeans will look India in the eye at The Oval on Tuesday. The former champions square off in an ICC Champions Trophy group B match here.
Samuels will be a marked man in the Indian camp. Having recently played the Indian Premier League for Pune Warriors, the temperamental Jamaican says he knows the Indian fully well and was looking forward to Tuesday's battle.
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"We always enjoy playing against India. India has always been some wonderful people. We're definitely looking forward to some good competition," said Samuels.
Samuels said West Indies have the right balance to win the Champions Trophy for the second time after 2004. "We have power hitters, batsmen who can bat through, all-rounders and very good spinners like (Sunil) Narine. So it's a good balance. We're just getting stronger," Samuels warned.
With age has come maturity and Samuels is happy to play an anchor role for the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy. The Jamaican, who scored 30 runs in a low-scoring match against Pakistan at The Oval on Friday, hopes to make his No. 4 point count against India on Tuesday.
Two of his four ODI centuries have come in 2012 and Samuels wants to play a more responsible role batting at No. 4 for the West Indies. "I'm batting (number) four so I've been carrying a lot of load for the team. I'll definitely continue to play that role and take a
lot of responsibility," he said
"I have to bat through the innings. Whether I have to speed it up or slow it down depends on the situation. There are still a lot of shots that I can play at the end. A lot if it is a thinking process," Samuels told reporters at The Oval on Sunday morning.
West Indies spent a solid three hours training at The Oval on Sunday morning while the Indians chose to remain confined to their hotel for the third straight day. Unlike the Indian team management, the friendly Caribbeans let Samuels interact with the media.
Samuels said he has grown in confidence as an international player and his runs have proved that. The batting all-rounder, who bowls off-spins, has scored 3485 runs in 143 ODIs at an average of 30.84 and remains West Indies' best bet to hold an innings together in English conditions. Samuels says he has prepared hard to bat against a moving ball.
"I bat a lot of tape-ball; the rubber ball with tape on one side. It swings a lot. I trained a lot especially before I came to England and it works well for me. So the English condition doesn't really bother me. I really enjoy batting in England, it's a challenging place and the ball does move around a lot but I enjoy it. It's something you have to work on before you come here," Samuels said.
The 33-year-old Samuels has matured as a cricketer after being banned for two years after match-fixing allegations against him.Â He returned to the West Indies Test and ODI teams in 2011, but it was only on the tour to England in 2012 that he proved himself. Against a quality English bowling attack in difficult conditions, Samuels scored 386 runs in five innings, with a century and three fifties.