Kingston—Jamaica and West Indies star batsman Marlon Samuels has officially launched his foundation which will give support to the blind and visually impaired.
The all-rounder made the announcement at a party held at his upscale residence in Chancery Hall, St Andrew, on Monday.
Ambassador Courtney Walsh, West Indies bowling coach Sir Curtly Ambrose, Coach Phil Simmons and limited overs Captain Jason Holder were among a number of notable individuals who attended the event.
The move came after Samuels was hit by a ball from Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga through the grille of his helmet two years ago, while representing Melbourne Renegades in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 tournament in 2013.
The blow left the right-handed batsman partially blind for two weeks, where he had to stay in his hotel room with swelling and bruising, before doing surgery for a fractured eye socket and returning home to Jamaica.
After recovering, the 34-year-old pledged his support for the blind and visually impaired with a donation of $50,000 to the Salvation Army School. That sum was used to aid five students with their examinations.
“This is basically a charity that is in aid of the blind and disabled, and what it is going to be doing is rally people from the industry… both sports and corporate Jamaica to just give to the charity. The funds collected will then be handed over to the various entities that will deal with things related to the blind and disabled,” Samuels explained.
Despite launching the foundation, the right-arm off-spinner is yet to confirm the name of the charity.
“We have not finalised that as yet, but one of the names that we are looking at is the ‘Marlon Samuels charity’ or ‘Marlon Samuels Foundation’,” he revealed.
Samuels made his Test debut in Australia in 2000, and his One-Day International debut against Sri Lanka in Nairobi, during the ICC Knockout Trophy in the same year.
After serving a two-year ban, while maintaining his innocence for “receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute” in 2008, Samuels returned to the West Indies set-up in 2010, and hardly missed a step.
He has since remained a prominent figure in the regional side where he played a major role in their 2012 ICC World Twenty20 championship win. Samuels is currently part of the West Indies squad going up against the touring Australian team. (First Published In The Jamaica Observer)