BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – Seamer Kemar Roach has warned West Indies against complacency as they prepare for their two-Test series against Zimbabwe starting in eight days.
West Indies are ranked number eight in the ICC Test rankings while Zimbabwe languish at number 10, and are without a Test win in four years.
The African nation have also never beaten West Indies in a Test, having lost six of eight previous meetings but Roach labelled them a dangerous side especially in home conditions.
“We must not get complacent. We’re in Zimbabwe. Yes they’re under us but I believe they’re a very good team,” he explained.
“They have some very good players, some good experienced players – they’ve been playing for a while – and they’re in home conditions so they know the conditions better than us.
“I think once we go out there with that same mentality we had in the second Test in England, I think we’ll do a very good job.”
In that second Test at Headingley last August, West Indies produced an astonishing performance to trounce the hosts by five wickets, after chasing down 322 on the final day.
Roach and new-ball partner Shannon Gabriel both starred in the match, grabbing four wickets apiece in the first innings to reduce England to a small first innings score, laying the foundation for victory.
And the 29-year-old backed the bowling unit to build on their development from the England tour and deliver against Zimbabwe.
“Our bowling is our strength and I think once we keep working hard on that and getting better, I think with experience these guys will become better cricketers and better bowlers as well,” he pointed out.
“I think the core of the bowlers we have right now in the Test team I think is a very good one and I hope these guys stick together as long as possible and keep working and win some games for the West Indies.”
Roach was the pick of the bowlers on the England tour. Though lacking the pace of former years, he produced sideways movement to trouble batsmen and was good enough to pick up a five-wicket haul at historic Lord’s as he finished with 11 scalps overall.
However, he was quick to point out that conditions in Zimbabwe were different and it would require adjustment and patience in order to be successful.
“It’s tough conditions and it’s my first time here so I’m trying to adapt as fast as possible and obviously trying to win this series against Zimbabwe as well,” he said.
“They (pitches) are pretty slow. Quite a big difference coming from England. Obviously you’re in a drier part of the world so we’ve got to adapt and get our lines and lengths right.
“I think fuller is better here and try to get the ball to do some stuff off the seam and be patient. I’ll be working on that [in the nets].”
He added: “It’s just a matter of getting back to what I’m good at. I’m finding my rhythm and once my rhythm is on, I feel that I can bowl as good as anyone in the world. So it’s about finding my rhythm, being patient and putting the ball in good areas at a very consistent level.
“I’ve been working at that. Bowling coach Roddy Estwick has been doing a fantastic job. I’ve had a lot of interactions [with him] and he’s given me some good advice so I’m feeling confident going forward into this series against Zimbabwe.”