Samuels handed dramatic reprieve by technical committee

Published: Saturday, February 8, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels was on Friday given the all-clear to play in the World Cup after being reinstated by the tournament's technical committee. The 22-year-old Jamaican was set to fly out from Kingston later on Friday and will be available for his team's day-night opener against hosts South Africa in Cape Town on Sunday.

The fast emerging Samuels was axed from the squad and replaced by all-rounder Ryan Hinds when selectors feared his suspect knee would not stand up to the rigours of the six-week tournament in South Africa. But he made a rapid recovery after treatment in the United States and doctors cleared him to play last month. Samuels, who has played 15 Tests and 39 One-day games, had said he was always sure to play but he had been so angry at the original decision that he immediately said he would play for Jamaica against the Leeward Islands in a domestic fixture to prove the selectors wrong.

"At no point did I have any doubt about my fitness or my ability to play at the highest level," Samuels told the Nation newspaper in Barbados. "The conclusions of the doctors only proved what I knew all along - that I could play as long as I continued to understand the nature of my problem knee. "That I would be cut from the 15-man squad for the World Cup had never been a consideration in my mind," the batsman said earlier on Friday.

"So when (chairman of selectors) Viv Richards broke the news to me, I was absolutely floored. "My decision to play for Jamaica was never intended to thumb my nose at the selection committee or the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). "I would never do anything to jeopardise my career. But I felt that to sit home and watch cricket while I was in playing condition would be unfair to myself, my country and many fans."

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