Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels met with recently elected directors of the KCOBA (Jamaica Chapter) at the Courtleigh Hotel poolside on May 19.
The effervescent get-together was formalised to express solidarity with the former Kingston College cricketer who recently ended his two-year ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his involvement with an Indian businessman, whom the ICC described as a bookmaker.
Speaker after speaker acknowledged the achievements of the talented middle-order batsman, who the day after travelled with the Jamaica team to Florida where they faced the USA in a 20/20 and 50-over series of matches.
President of the KCOBA, Jamaica Chapter, Dr Ray Fraser lauded Samuels for staying the course and not giving up in the face of adversity.
“We want to assure you that we are fully behind you and we hope that you will rebound and continue to play good cricket,” Fraser said.
“You may ask, why we are only now reaching out to you, but nothing happens before its time and we think that it is appropriate that we sit with you now and tell you that we are very supportive of you,” Fraser said.
Vice president in charge of sports development, Charley Grant and VP with responsibility for mentorship and school affairs Anthony Allen both added their pieces.
Grant expressed a wish to work alongside Samuels with rebuilding certain areas of sports development at KC, specifically cricket.
“I have been in discussions with Gary Neill and Robert (Pro) Haynes about how we can improve cricket at KC and I want to call on you to lend a hand at times,” Grant said.
Allen was more intent on satisfying his thirst for cricket.
“I am a cricket man, and I just want to see you back in the middle making some runs man,” Allen said.
Newly-elected vice president in charge of business development, fund-raising and events organising, Dr Patrick Dallas also encouraged Samuels to brush off his recent mishap and refocus on realising his dream of becoming the world’s best batsman.
“I always knew that you had it in you and some years ago in a discussion that I had with (former West Indies captain) Brian Lara, he told me that you were the best batsman that we have in the West Indies,” Dallas told a seemingly surprised Samuels.
Another new director, Ricardo Gray, who at 21 is the youngest of the nine elected, said that meeting with Samuels was a moving event.
“I am the closest in age to you and I have always looked forward to meeting you. I wish you all the best,” he said.
Other directors Lloyd Bennett, Eric Heslop, and HG Helps, along with former director Jeffrey Foreman, also spoke.
Samuels, 29, expressed his appreciation for the gesture, in between sips of fine Merlot red wine, bottles of which were paid for by the batting stylist, much to the pleasant surprise of the directors, some of whom appeared glossy-eyed following the consumption of the alcoholic beverage.
“I will always be a true KC man … Fortis everytime! I will gladly assist the Old Boys Association in any way that I can, whenever I can.
“I really appreciate this meeting and I look forward to linking up with you on other occasions,” Samuels said.