The West Indies will win the World Cup. That is the bold prediction of Kemar Roach, who thinks that even though the regional side is rated at number nine on the International Cricket Council’s One Day International rankings, the West Indies can be in winners’ row at the end of the showpiece event.
“I think we will have a very good side. The guys that are available for selection are of good quality. Once they are selected and go out there and put West Indies first and play as a team, I think we will do a fantastic job and bring home the silverware,” Roach told the media this afternoon during a break in a training camp at the Three Ws Oval in preparation for a tri-nations series in Ireland next month that also includes Bangladesh and the hosts.
Pressed on the reasons for his optimism, Roach said: “I have to think about winning. I can’t be negative about anything, it is all about being positive. If you think about winning you are going to win, that’s how I feel. You don’t want to be negative in any aspect of cricket. My thing is that I believe we are going to win once we play good cricket.
Let me make it clear that any team can win. But I think once we play good cricket, we can come out on top. The West Indies are one of the most feared sides in the One-Day format of the game. So, let’s go out there and show it,” the veteran fast bowler said.
The 30-year-old stated that he was almost fully recovered from a stress reaction on his back that kept him out of the third Test against England in St Lucia in February.
“I am not 100 per cent. There are still a couple weeks before the first game in Ireland, so I am gradually improving and I will be ready for the first game. I bowled a lot of overs in the Test series against England which took a toll on me but I am back now and ready to go,” Roach said.
He added: “I have been in the gym a lot and have been receiving therapy at Jacqui’s clinic (Dr Jacqueline King, long-serving physiotherapist to Barbados and West Indies cricketers). I have been doing a lot of work on my back and on my action and technique as well. Hopefully in two weeks time, I should be ready to go.”
Roach is excited about playing in the World Cup and said if given the opportunity to play he intended to perform in a manner that would make the people of the Caribbean proud.
“Playing in the World Cup is something I have been working towards in the last couple of weeks so hopefully, if selected, I will give it my best shot and go out there and try hard to bring home the sliver ware for the West Indies,” Roach said.
Roach who has taken 184 wickets from 53 Test matches and 114 scalps from 80 ODIs said he was reaching his goals in international cricket.
“I am doing pretty well in Test cricket, I am aiming for 200 Test wickets, after that 250 and then I will take it from there. In one-day cricket, I have to get back in the frame of things. The last ODI series I played in was in Bangladesh and I got injured there as well. So it is about building up for all of the ODIs coming after a long World Cup at home and overseas, I am prepared to go out there and give it my best shot,” he said, noting that ODI’s had evolved into a batsman’s game with bowlers always under pressure.
“The critical thing at the World Cup will be handling the pressure as best as possible and formulating good plans and executing them well. Once we have good plans in our team meetings for each team and their batsmen, and go out there and put our best foot forward while executing these plans, I see no reason why we should not perform well as a bowling unit,” the senior Windies pacer said.
Roach considers himself to be one of the most experienced members of the team and stressed that he must set a good example for all of the other players to follow.
Of the talent in the team Roach identified young fast bowler Oshane Thomas as an improving speedster and lauded his performance in the recent ODI series against England.
“However, I think experienced players should pull their weight in big tournaments. We have several experience players and I think this will serve us in good stead. If they all can perform at the World Cup that would be fantastic,” Roach said.