CHELMSFORD, England, CMC – Resurgent West Indies seamer Kemar Roach believes the hard work during his recent protracted layoff from international cricket is set to pay dividends.
The 29-year-old, returning to West Indies colours for the first time in 19 months, produced a superb spell of swing bowling to capture three wickets and rattle English County Essex on the second day of the three-day first class game here. Roach, who had struggled with loss of form and injury, said he was now focussed on delivering for West Indies especially as one of the senior players in the squad.
“It’s pretty tough to go out there after two years off, getting back into the frame of things and adapting,” said the right-armer who has played 37 Tests.
“Test cricket is the biggest format of cricket there is [and] two years off is a long time but I’ve been working hard, I’ve done all the right things to be back here so I’ll just go out there, help the younger guys in the team and just put some good performances out there. “
Using the swing-friendly conditions to his advantage, Roach picked up three for 17 from his six overs as Essex, responding to the Windies’ 338 for eight declared in their first innings, stumbled to 47 for four at lunch.
Heavy rain during the interval and into the afternoon forced the abandonment of play without another ball bowled. In a fine exhibition of swing bowling, Roach removed opener Varun Chopra for nought as the batman nicked an out-swinger to Kyle Hope at third slip without scoring, off the third ball of the innings.
Roach then brought one back to comprehensively bowl Dan Lawrence for eight and then trapped Adam Wheater lbw without scoring with a full length delivery.
“It feels good to get out on the park after training so hard for the last couple weeks,” Roach explained.
“It feels good to actually get out there and get some match practice. The ball came out well today, the rhythm was on and I got a couple wickets so hopefully tomorrow we can go out there and continue the good job we’ve been doing.”He added: “I’ve been working on making the ball go both ways with the coach Roddy Estwick. I always had it in me but I needed to perfect it a little bit more so I’ve been working on that really hard and today it was perfect. “My line and length were spot on. That’s where I want to be so I’m going to to keep working and building on that.”Roach is expected to play a leading role in the Windies attack in the upcoming three-Test series, especially as one of just three players in the squad who have ever played a Test in England before.
The Barbadian also played a handful of matches for Worcestershire in the 2011 County Championship and he said this had given him valuable experience in English conditions.
“I’ve been here for Worcestershire and I’ve been here on a Test tour as well so I know certain grounds and how the pitches play and atmosphere and stuff,” he pointed out. “It’s all about adapting quickly, it’s not back home, it’s not Barbados – it’s a little cold over here. It’s about adapting quickly and just going out there and doing the basics right.”