Kemar Roach paid tribute to deceased West Indies fast bowling legend Malcolm Marshall, following another penetrative spell for West Indies in the second Digicel Test against Australia yesterday. Roach, small in stature, but big in heart, completed his second five-wicket haul of the Test, claiming 5-41 to complete match figures of 10-146, as Australia wobbled to 160 for eight declared. The Queen’s Park Oval pitch did not favoured fast bowling, but Roach showed tremendous powers of endurance.
“Today would have been Malcolm Marshall’s 54th birthday so it’s a special day in West Indies cricket history,” he said. “I looked up to him as a bowler. As a young boy growing up in Barbados, I modelled myself on Malcolm Marshall. He was a hero for many young fast bowlers in Barbados and he set a standard.” Roach added: “I’ve watched a lot of clips of him and he was just such a great, great, great bowler, he was the best bowler in the world at the time when he was playing. “It’s a good feeling to know that I got some wickets on his birthday and it makes me feel warm as a West Indian to know I can go out there and perform for the West Indies like he did.”
Marshall was born on April 18, 1958, and died on November 4, 1999, in his native Barbados. A master of pace and swing, he took a then West Indies record 376 wickets in 81 Test matches at the impressive average of 20.94 apiece. On a dry surface, Roach showed similar control and skill that was the hallmark of Marshall’s bowling. In his first over from the Brian Lara Pavilion End, he found the edge of David Warner’s bat for Darren Bravo to hold a low chance at slip and produced the ball of the match to pluck Shane Watson’s off-stump out of the ground and send it cart-wheeling. He then got rid of left-hander Ed Cowan, as he could not negotiate a fast, full-length delivery and was plumb lbw. Roach said that Watson’s dismissal was particularly pleasing. “It was a good sight,” he said. “I really enjoyed that one obviously. To get him, on that pitch, is a good achievement. “The lower the bounce in the pitch, you obviously want to challenge the stumps a bit more, keep your pace up, be as accurate as possible and challenge the batsmen’s technique. That’s what got me wickets.”
Roach became the first West Indies bowler to take ten wickets in a match against Australia since Curtly Ambrose performed the feat back in 1993. Roach also gave credit to West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson for the success that he has reaped with the ball so far this year, after spending plenty of time on the sidelines last year. “Gibson is a really good bowling coach, I enjoy working with him,” he said. “I’ve been working hard with him and I want to thank him for the success I’ve been getting so far and I’m going to keep working with him in the rest of my career hopefully.”