Underdogs or not, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is adamant that now is the time for the regional side to beat the visiting England side.
The three-match Test series between the two countries starts next Wednesday at Kensington Oval with the West Indies rated down the ladder at number eight on the International Cricket Council’s latest Test ranking and England ranked as the third best side in the world. But England’s previous history on tours to the Caribbean is not lost on the West Indies’ premier pacer.
“The West Indies on their day can play good cricket, we always have that match in us where we can beat any opposition. We still have that in us. There are some quality players in the side along with a few who are now gaining experience. I think the time has come for us to take the mantle and run with it. I don’t think England have won a Test series in the West indies for a long time, it has always been a tough tour for them here and we want to keep it that way. I think we can beat them at home, I don’t think we have any more wait in us, the fans are all waiting for us to do better,” Roach told Barbados TODAY.
He acknowledged that Test series against England in the Caribbean was always a good experience for West Indies cricket.
“I think the guys are ready and raring to go. We have a couple of new guys in the squad, we will try to get them gel as soon as possible. So far everything is going pretty well, a series win will give us a strong impetus going into our World Cup preparations,” Roach said.
The 30-year-old pacer who has played 50 Tests and taken 166 wickets said he still felt the same excitement for the game he did in his youthful days.
“Obviously it is a harder on the body now, but I still love to put on the maroon cap, I still love to go out there and play. I try to perform as best as I can and bring joy to the people of the West Indies. I still have the ability and skills to make an impact on the game. I want to continue to do it as long as I can. I hope my body stays up to the task as well,” he stated.
Roach who is at number ten on the list of West Indies’ wicket-takers said he reached one of his goals in the last series to be among the top ten on the list of leading West Indian bowlers and added his next goal was to get to 200 Test wickets
“I have set 200 wickets as my next target and I will see how far I can go from there. Obviously, I am aging, we all know that, but I think I still have another three to four years in West Indies cricket, I can still make a contribution to the team,” Roach said.
He explained that playing before his home crowd was always a good feeling. “As a Bajan playing at Kensington Oval in front of your home crowd is always a good feeling, you know the conditions well, and it is always a good feeling to represent the West Indies in your homeland. Kensington is a historic place, a lot of great cricketers have played at the ground. It has been renovated from the old venue to a new one, but it is still a good feeling to go out there and see the Sir Garry Sobers Pavilion, the Greenidge and Haynes stands or to be bowling at the Malcolm Marshall or Joel Garner end.”
Roach who is the senior fast bowler in the West Indies team said his body had changed and injuries had set him back a lot. But he added that he has remained strong and his bowling was now based on consistency.
“I have been working hard with my coaches on the technical and mental aspects of my bowling, I am in good stead. I have been doing pretty well since I came back into West Indies cricket, and I want to continue to doing so,” he stated.