Marlon Samuels of the Melbourne Renegades hits out during a BBL match. Photo: Getty Images
TAKE it from the coach, Marlon Samuels really is as cool as he appears. Not even having his bowling action questioned can faze him.
But the Melbourne Renegades think there is one thing that stirs the West Indies all-rounder like nothing else: getting one up over his Caribbean mates.
Samuels will on Wednesday night return to Etihad Stadium for the first time, in a pivotal Big Bash game against the Adelaide Strikers, since Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann questioned the legitimacy of his action. Lehmann was later fined $3000, suspended for two years.
Samuels has endured plenty in his career — he was suspended for two years over links to a bookmaker and carries the perception he has not fulfilled his immense talent — but Renegades coach Simon Helmot said Lehmann’s comments had no bearing.
‘‘He hasn’t worried about them at all, he’s pushed them to the side,’’ Helmot said on Tuesday. ‘‘Nothing much fazes Marlon, as you’ve probably seen.’’
Helmot said Samuels was more likely to be focused on trumping another West Indies all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, who looms as Adelaide’s most dangerous player in a game where both the Renegades (second) and Strikers (third) are jockeying for semi-final berths.
Pollard smashed 65 from 43 balls in the loss to the Melbourne Stars last Thursday night, but the Stars kept his slogging in check sufficiently through Clint McKay’s clever slower deliveries.
Wednesday night’s game could become a slow-bowling fest, given the Renegades’ success with Muttiah Muralidaran, Samuels, Aaron O’Brien and Aaron Finch this season, while Adelaide can call on spin trio Johan Botha, Cameron Boyce and Brad Young.
Helmot, whose side is out to avenge its first loss of the season, a 51-run drubbing from the Perth Scorchers, on Saturday night, said Samuels had a calming influence on his teammates in the field, but was keen for him to have a big impact over the next fortnight.
He expected Pollard’s presence to bring out Samuels’ best.
• Former Test gloveman Tim Paine has cracked the highest score of his tough comeback from injury to steer the Hobart Hurricanes to a six-wicket Big Bash League win over the Perth Scorchers at Bellerive Oval on Tuesday night. Paine finally returned to his best with 74 from 57 balls as the Hurricanes chased down Perth’s 8-152 with nine balls to spare.