Big night ... Shane Warne clashes with West Indies import Marlon Samuels during Sunday's fiery Big Bash League encounter. Photo: Getty Images
FORMER West Indies coach John Dyson does not regard Marlon Samuels as a player who would antagonise opponents on the field as the fallout from his stoush with Shane Warne continued on Monday.
Past and present coaches of Samuels have come out in defence of the star Windies batsman, who hurled his bat several metres over Warne's head after being struck by an underarm throw from the leg-spinner during Sunday night's fiery Melbourne derby in the Big Bash League.
The Melbourne Renegades import faces two alleged breaches of Cricket Australia's code of behaviour - for making inappropriate contact with another player, David Hussey, and unbecoming behaviour that could bring the game into disrepute.
Although it is the third time Samuels has been embroiled in drama in the tournament, the batsman has been described as a ''serious guy'' who does not look for controversy. ''In the time I knew Marlon I didn't know him to antagonise other people on the field,'' said Dyson, who coached the West Indies from 2007-09.
''He's like a lot of players, he holds his ground. He's a strong competitor and doesn't back away from anyone. I don't think he does actively seek controversy.''
The Jamaican, however, has been accused by Hussey, who was involved in the incident that sparked the conflict, as being a player who ''doesn't seem to make too many friends all around the world''.
The scepticism appears to stem from Samuels's past. Despite not having acted ''dishonestly or in a corrupt manner", a four-man panel for the West Indies Cricket Board's disciplinary committee banned Samuels for two years in 2008 for his links with an Indian bookmaker.
Although Richie Richardson, a member of the panel, later admitted he regretted his decision and Samuels has long maintained his innocence, the mud has stuck. Nor have question marks over the legality of his bowling action, aired publicly by Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann last month, and an incident with Adelaide mentor Darren Berry helped his cause.
''He's like a lot of Jamaicans that can come off as being a little aloof but I found him OK to speak to,'' Dyson said. ''He's a strong competitor, an enormous talent and a proud guy about his talent. They all take a while to get to know them but when you get to know them and they're OK.
''That's just an outside image that they're a bit cool, but they're like a lot of people. Once you get to know them they open up but it takes a while to get to know them. You've got to win their trust and confidence. You have to earn that from them.''
The top-of-the-table Renegades, the first team to book a berth in the semi-finals, are privately seething at what they believe to be a deliberate targeting by the Melbourne Stars of Samuels, who turned 32 on Saturday.
Renegades coach Simon Helmot launched a spirited defence of Samuels, saying he had been a massive contributor on and off the field to the team's success this season. ''He's been an awesome member of our squad not just with the bat but he's been exceptional with the ball and around the group and been a great assistant to Finchy [Aaron Finch],'' Helmot said. ''We love him, he's a fantastic guy. He respects the coaches, he loves our environment and loves his teammates.
''He'll be quite happy to sit in the change rooms and talk to players about their game, how they can improve and how he can contribute to the team. We've got nothing but admiration for Marlon Samuels.''
The Renegades will look at replacing Samuels with another overseas player if a suspected serious eye injury ends his BBL campaign. Samuels suffered a suspected broken eye socket courtesy of a Lasith Malinga bouncer. The Renegades said on Monday they were still to learn the full extent of the damage.
''We're now waiting for the swelling around his eye to subside before determining the full extent of the blow,'' Helmot said.