Cricket sledging row: 'English boys don't learn,' gloats Samuels
West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels takes on Ben Stokes – who will have the last word?
West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels livened up the first day of the second Test in Grenada as he scored an unbeaten 94 to rescue his side and then mocked English bowler Ben Stokes for trying to sledge him, announcing "English boys don't learn".
Samuels, who came to the wicket with the Windies wobbling on 28-2, initially made excruciating progress – it took him 21 balls to get off the mark and he eventually reached his 50 off 142 balls. But after reaching his half-century and following a verbal exchange with Stokes he began to attack, moving from 53 to 94 in just 41 balls.
His sudden change of gears perplexed the BBC radio commentary team, who were less than complimentary about his approach to the game. But after the day's play, Samuels lifted the lid on what had provoked him.
"Ben Stokes basically is battling himself because he's just coming into cricket and I've been around for a while," boasted Samuels. "It's obvious the English boys don't learn because whenever they talk to me I continue scoring runs. But they keep on talking, I guess they can't help it. I kept on telling him that but I probably have to tell him something different because he's not listening."
Asked how the rivalry would pan out on day two, Samuels was quick to throw down the gauntlet. "If Marlon Samuels is 150 and Ben Stokes is with the ball in his hand tomorrow, it will be very interesting," he said.
Samuels' comments are unlikely to be the last word on the matter. "Neither player is renowned as a wallflower, with Stokes proving highly combustible in his brief international career and Samuels never shying away from incident, on or off the field," notes The Guardian.
The West Indian is a complex character, writes George Dobell of Cricinfo, who says his talent remains "unfulfilled" 15 years after he made his Test debut. "You sometimes wonder if he argues with the moon and shakes his fist at the sun," he adds.
The view of Samuels in the commentary box was less flattering. Ed Smith of the BBC described him as a player who "thought he was cool" but was not. "He's not like Chris Gayle, who really was cool," he declared.
As for England's tyro, the Daily Mail believes he adds some much-needed character to the side. "Even when the cricket is torpid and the scoring rate is barely more than two an over, life with England will never be dull while Ben Stokes is around," says the paper.