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Samuels remains undistracted by bookie probe
Simon Evans | March 08, 2007 10:26 IST
Samuels is going into the World Cup in top form after striking an impressive century in his side's first warm-up game against Kenya on Monday and said that proved he was unfazed by the controversy.
"It is a good feeling to score a hundred coming from a lot of distractions," Jamaican Samuels said.
"I've had a lot of distractions in my career and I know how to take the negatives and turn them into positives, the greatest thing has been the support I have received from the fans in both Kingston and the country, it was delightful."
Samuels was cleared to play in the World Cup despite an International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption unit investigation into allegations that he passed on confidential team information to a bookmaker during a recent series in India.
The attacking right-handed batsman has been instrumental in his team's last three wins - scoring 100 against Pakistan and 98 against India before Monday's century and says he has responded to skipper Lara's appeal for more genuine match-winning displays.
"The captain spoke to me and said he is looking for match winners and I told him I have no problem doing that. He is giving me the chance and I'm relishing the opportunity," he said.
Samuels says has benefited from rising up the batting order and getting the opportunity to build an innings.
"Batting early gives me the chance to assess the conditions and the pitch and to pace myself. It is difficult to score a lot of runs batting at number seven and eight. I love batting early, you get to express yourself and set up your team," he said.
Samuels broke into the West Indies test side at the age of 19 on the 2000-2001 tour of Australia but despite an impressive start he struggled to build on his promise.
After his century, Lara noted that Samuels had opted the right mental approach and said the batsman had "come to the party" at just the right time.
Samuels says that despite the praise, he is keeping his feet on the ground.
"I am not going in over-confident. I am going in being me, backing myself and staying positive," he said.
West Indies face India in their final warm-up match on Friday before they begin competitive action in group D against Pakistan on March 13. Lara's side also face Zimbabwe and Ireland in the group stage as they battle to become the first hosts to win the World Cup.
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