Thanks to Luke for alerting me to a piece on Cricinfo tonight, where Marlon Samuels claims that he has a Kolpak deal on offer from Derbyshire.
You can read the piece here but in a lengthy article, the relevant section reads:
"Samuels also revealed that he has been offered a three-year Kolpak deal
by Derbyshire worth up to £130,000 a season, fuelling concerns that West
Indies could be hit by a spate of international retirements of the sort
that recently shocked South African cricket. While it is understood he
has indicated a reluctance to accept the deal - he would prefer a deal
as an overseas player in county cricket, thereby sustaining his hopes of
playing international cricket - he has suggested it remains on the
Samuels asserted that, for him, it is loyalty to West Indies that comes
first, which was evident in his 17 years' service in Caribbean cricket.
"I've got a Kolpak deal on my plate which I'm contemplating," he said.
"It's a three-year deal with Derbyshire. Worth probably £120,000-130,000
a year. The money is not the issue at the moment, I've been playing
international cricket the last 17 years so have set myself the right
way. This is about principle, about being loyal. I've been a loyal
soldier for West Indies cricket and continue to play. I showed some
loyalty, so I expect a bit of loyalty. I'm only the one from 2000 still
here, sticking round and playing for the West Indies."
Samuels said he was in "no rush" to sign the Derbyshire deal as, after
the PSL, he would travel to play another league in Hong Kong and had a
"few other deals" in the bag.
Samuels is unlikely to be the only Caribbean player attracting interest
from England's first-class counties. Darren Bravo, whose relationship
with WICB would appear to be in tatters following a public falling-out
with Cameron, is one who is certain to be snapped up if he decides to go
that route, while fellow Trinidadian Denesh Ramdin is also understood
to be of interest.
Ravi Rampaul, the second highest wicket-taker in this year's Super 50,
is already on a Kolpak deal with Surrey, while former West Indies
captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was second in the batting averages,
has recently signed a similar deal with Lancashire".
I don't doubt that an offer must have been made to the player, as he can't really go round claiming it otherwise (I would assume). However, the value of the deal seems on the high side and the whole piece smacks of someone playing off one would-be suitor against another.
He obviously wants to continue to play for the West Indies and feels he is worth more than they are offering. So letting them know of another offer - and perhaps exaggerating its worth - is a bargaining tool that has doubtless been used before and will be again.
I have no doubt that there will be a club statement sometime soon, but the news, while exciting, is not going to get me leaping out of my seat at this stage. I would expect the club to be disappointed that a potential target is airing their interest and alerting others to his availability and he makes it clear that he is signing nothing for now.
On top form Marlon Samuels is a very good and talented player. He would also represent a challenge, as his reputation as being his own man precedes him, but definitely, to go back to my piece earlier today, a man who would strengthen the squad.So too, if the article is correct, is Darren Bravo, perhaps a less flamboyant but more solid player who will attract interest around the counties. I am less sure of Ramdin, a competent wicket-keeper/batsman but hardly in the top class.
All in good time, though. I will get excited if and when something happens, but not before.
The good thing is that it further shows the club's ambition.
Watch this space...