We Pakistani's will never forget your sacrifices ,ur golden words are a message for the world that we r peace loving nation n we love Crickt pic.twitter.com/rxYtjfZIMC— Javed Afridi (@JAfridi10) March 11, 2017
In a bizarre development, West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels has expressed his eagerness to join the Pakistan Army. The 36-year-old, who had travelled to Lahore for the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL) final, claimed to be a ‘Pakistani at heart’ and went on to declare that he was waiting for the badges to complete the formalities.
A video of the Jamaican was released by his PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi‘s owner Javed Afridi on Twitter. Samuels said, “For me, it’s more than just coming to Pakistan to a play a game of cricket. It is the significance and success of the team and smiles on the faces of the people that are sad. I am a Pakistani at heart and that it is why it didn’t take me long to decide to come to Pakistan (for the PSL final).”
Proceeding to directly address Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), he quipped, “General, I’m just waiting for the metals (badges) on my shoulder, I would want to be a part of the Pakistan Army. Cricket should definitely come back to Pakistan. I will continue to come back to this country till I die.”
Among the most enigmatic personalities in the modern game, Samuels has represented West Indies in more than 300 games across all three formats. The Jamaican lost his place in the ODI squad when England recently visited for a 3-match series.
Irked by his omission, Samuels threatened the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) with a Kolpak deal from Derbyshire. However, the County stated that they were no longer interested in securing his services after citing ‘recent events’.
Extra Cover: Pakistan Super League 2017 – Team of the Tournament
He was among the few high-profile overseas players who took the trip to Lahore for the 2017 PSL final. The right-hander scored a 17-ball 19 in Zalmi’s 58-run victory over Quetta Gladiators. In an emotionally charged moment for cricket-starved Pakistanis, the title clash evoked memories of a packed Gaddafi Stadium, with former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy lifting the trophy amidst loud cheers.
Following a successful campaign with Kowloon Cantons in the Hong Kong Twenty20 Blitz, Samuels will be hoping for a recall to the West Indies team. Interestingly, if he does get selected, his next assignment comprising of four T20Is, three ODIs and three Tests will be against Pakistan at home.
Admittedly, Samuels’s official Twitter handle reads – ‘Jamaican to the Bone’. While his message to join them would have been in jest, his open support for the Pakistan army and their tireless efforts to bring cricket back home certainly deserves praise. After all, sport has the unique ability to bridge gaps and bring people together.