Marlon Samuels says his recent spat with Shane Warne would probably have degenerated into fisticuffs had it occurred a few years earlier.
In his first interview since suffering two eye-socket fractures in the Big Bash League's Melbourne derby on January 6 at the MCG, the volatile West Indies all-rounder said he was disgusted at Warne's baiting of him and also the apparent apathy of the Melbourne Stars players after he was struck in the eye after top-edging a Lasith Malinga bouncer.
''For me, running right through my mind there and then was that I was not just representing me but that I was representing my family ... Jamaica and the Renegades, and that my actions could be very disgraceful for me, my family and the Renegades,'' Samuels said.
''There were a lot of kids in the ground - Twenty20 is about family - so I couldn't afford to react in a very bad way. [Three years ago] I would have reacted in a very aggressive way ... but I've been through a lot and I use all those things. I can control myself and control my energy. I was able to come out on top with him behaving the way that he was behaving. He's supposed to be a legend in Australia. What he did was give me the stripes so I am the legend now.''
Warne's outburst, which involved swearing and tugging at Samuels's shirt, was triggered by Samuels having hindered the Stars' David Hussey from seeking a second run earlier in the match, although a charge levelled at Samuels over that incident was dismissed at a hearing on Monday.
That Samuels later lobbed his bat in Warne's direction, after an underarm throw from the Stars captain struck him, was deemed worthy of a reprimand, with Cricket Australia's code of conduct commissioner ruling Samuels's conduct ''resulted from extreme provocation''.
Samuels said Warne had gone too far in trying to unsettle him. ''He has kids, and if you have kids you have to respect other people's kids. You can talk in a game and try to get into someone's head, but you don't get physical. That's what he did. He took it to the next level, which was just way overboard,'' Samuels said. ''He was a very desperate man doing desperate things. That's not the way you go about it when you're the face of the tournament with kids looking on.''
Samuels said he was staggered that after he was struck in the eye while batting, the only Stars player
who sought to check on his welfare was the bowler, Malinga.
''No matter how much you want another player to be out, no matter how many things you're going to tell that player, you do not want to see a fellow player get hurt,'' he said. ''The rest of the players, what were you doing? It's not a war, it's a game. We're here to entertain people ... but we're here to show love to one another as cricketers as well.''
Samuels signed only a one-year contract for the Renegades but was so appreciative of their conduct throughout his stint with them, that he vowed he would never play for another Australian team. ''If the Renegades do not want to take me next year that's [the end of] my Big Bash for life,'' he said.
Having endured run-ins with Brisbane coach Darren Lehmann and Adelaide coach Darren Berry earlier in the tournament - the latter was cleared of wrongdoing over that at a disciplinary hearing on Monday - Samuels urged CA to take a tougher stance on behaviour among players and officials in future BBL seasons.
''This tournament is a very good tournament, but whoever's running the tournament has to take some positive steps by showing more discipline,'' he said. ''The behaviour is poor. Every game you have people in other people's face. Remember, T20 is for family and kids; you're trying to pull a big crowd. It's not a boxing game.
''At the end of the day it doesn't matter how much a [rival] player makes, you still have to shake your opponent's hand.
- The Age
Should bouncers be banned from cricket?