BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is happy to be back in the swing of things as he prepares for the proposed tour of England starting next month.
The most experienced and successful West Indies Test bowler in the last decade has his eyes on the magical figure of 200 Test wickets once the green light is given for the tour to happen. The teams will play three Test matches as they compete for the Wisden Trophy.
Roach presently sits on 193 wickets in 56 matches since his dramatic debut against Bangladesh back in 2009 in St. Vincent. His impressive figures include nine five-wicket hauls and put him in ninth position in the West Indies all-time list. The other bowlers in the top ten are: Walsh, Ambrose, Marshall, Gibbs, Garner, Holding, Sobers, Roberts and Hall – all inductees in the prestigious International Cricket Council Hall of Fame.
“My goal is 200 wickets when we go to England…that’s the personal goal. The team goal is to win the series…. To beat England in England would be something special for us as players and for West Indies cricket,” Roach said.
“It’s definitely doable…. We beat them last time they were here in the West Indies last year and we have many of the same players who were in that team last year.”
Roach, who celebrates his 32nd birthday next month, is the team’s leading bowler and is presently in the top 20 in the ICC Test match rankings. His ultimate career goal is 300 Test wickets.
“I’m looking to get better and move higher. I have my eyes fixed on 300 (wickets). I know that might seem some way off, but I’m feeling fit and ready and I believe it achievable,” he said.
Roach joined several Test teammates as they returned to training after a two-month layoff due to Government enforced lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group – which also included captain Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Raymon Reifer, Shai Hope and Jomel Warrican – started fitness drills and net sessions on Monday at Kensington Oval, under the guidance of West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick.
“The Man of the Series performance last year against England was the high point of my career and we won the series as well, which was something extra special for the people of the West Indies and those fans all around the world who support us,” Roach said.
During that three-Test rubber he took 18 wickets at 13.8 runs each as West Indies won in Barbados and Antigua to lift the coveted trophy.
“I would like to emulate those kinds of performances. The ball was coming out and everything just flowed. We played a very good brand of cricket.
“Going to England will bring back some good memories. I love playing in England, very good facilities and wonderful atmosphere. Even though we won’t be playing in front the fans this time, it will still be quite good. I had a good series last time…. It felt special to get five wickets at Lords and have my name on the honours board,” Roach added.
If the England series comes off, it will be the first international tour to take place in nearly three months since the virus forced the cessation of cricket globally.
A final decision is likely to be made at a CWI Board meeting on Thursday.