ICC made me a scapegoat, says Marlon Samuels

Sydney: West Indian batsman Marlon Samuels, whose two year ban for informing a bookmaker is about to end in three days, has said that he did nothing wrong and ICC made him a scapegoat.

"I am an honest person. My conscience would not allow me to come back if I knew within myself I had done something wrong," he said.

"They (ICC) needs to spend time on situations like this, it is delicate and very important because you are dealing with players` careers," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Samuels, as saying.

"When they looked at my case, they used me as a scapegoat, the ICC wanted to make an example out of me when I was never in a position for them to be able to use me as an example. The way they dealt with my case was very unfair.”

"I really didn`t have a case; when I went to the hearing I thought it would be just a fair process but it wasn`t like a hearing at all, I was just banned," Samuels said.

The case against Samuels centred on a police-tapped telephone conversation he had with Dubai-based Mukesh Kochhar before the Windies` first one-dayer against India in January 2008 and included accurate revelations of the Windies` batting line-up and bowling order. The chat included both men saying they would be in Mumbai.

After the tour Samuels went to Mumbai with Chris Gayle to appear in a television show, but they backed out after the promised 2000 dollars could not be guaranteed to them before shooting, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

They still had to pay for their hotels, but Samuels` credit card was rejected. He phoned Kochhar from the hotel lobby and soon a man sent on Kochhar`s behalf arrived at the hotel and settled the 1238 dollars bill.

Samuels has always maintained the money was a loan and he intended to pay it back but the ICC viewed the payment as some compensation for the divulging team information.

It later found him guilty of breaching its code of conduct for "receiving money, or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute".