Marlon Samuels has told his long-time rival Ben Stokes to zip it or pay the price should the two foes meet later this month in the West Indies’ limited-overs leg of their tour of the UK.
Samuels and Stokes have enjoyed a fierce rivalry ever since the England allrounder was saluted by the West Indian when he left the field after being dismissed in a Grenada Test of April 2015, before they once again collided in last year’s World T20 final in Kolkata, a match that ended when Stokes conceded four straight sixes in the final over (with Samuels unbeaten at the non-striker’s end) to suffer a shock defeat.
Now round three looks set as long as Stokes is named in England’s T20I or one-day international squads, and Samuels has warned all will be fine as long as the vice-captain stays silent.
"With me coming to England, he should stay on the boundary when I’m batting, as far away as possible," Samuels told The Guardian.
"As long as he keeps quiet, I won’t start anything, so if anything does happen that means he has said something to me first.
"I’m going to come to England and be a good boy … at least for the start of it.
"He wanted to take me on a couple of years ago (in the Test where Samuels offered the infamous salute).
"He started something and I told him he better be prepared to finish it.
"But I saw him during the IPL this year and he didn’t say anything.
"I hope he can continue on that path. If not, I have things in place."
Before Samuels arrives in Durham – Stokes’ home ground – for the sole T20 international on September 16, the West Indies have the final Test at Lord’s to negotiate.
The tourists head to St John’s Wood with a bucket load of confidence having levelled the three-match series at one-all in Headingley with a resounding five-wicket win.
Criticism came thick and fast after the first Test innings defeat at Edgbaston, but Samuels says the inexperienced side needs time to grow, develop and strive for greatness.
"People were writing off the players but they are young, hungry and showing fight by winning a Test in tough conditions," he said.
"West Indies are not on top and playing the best but the media is too critical, they need to give these youngsters a chance because not every player starts out at the top of their game.
"In history there are greats who started slow, and players who started fast and never last.
"It’s a game of glorious uncertainty and you have to give guys a chance to shape their destinies. Hopefully Jason (Holder, captain) and the boys can finish it off now."