St. John’s (Antigua): Fit-again fast bowler Kemar Roach says he is looking to make a big impact when he returns to the Test side for the two-match series against New Zealand starting tomorrow.
The right-armer, who was forced out of the recent tour of England with a shin injury, signalled a return to full fitness with a devastating burst on the opening day of the three-day match against the Kiwis here last Friday.
He claimed four for 34 from 17 hostile overs at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground to reduce New Zealand to 149 all out in their first innings.
“I was happy with the way I bowled. I was away from the game for a little while so I wanted to get back into the groove and prove that I’m ready for the upcoming Test matches,” the 24-year-old was quoted as saying by CMC.
“While I was away I had therapy and fitness sessions and my body is feeling fit and ready for the challenges ahead.
‘A good return’
“To get those early wickets, and especially the leading batsmen in their team, was a good return. It put them under pressure from the start and we maintained that grip. I got the ball to move both ways and that’s something I have been working hard to perfect.”
He added: “With these two games coming up next week and then the following week in Jamaica, I want to make it count big time.”
He produced a superb inswinger to trap opener Martin Guptill plumb before the wicket and claim his 150th first class wicket. He then conjured up two perfect outswingers to account for Brendon McCullum and captain Ross Taylor.
He prised out veteran Daniel Vettori with a bouncer which was miscued to mid-on.
Roach has been the leading bowler for the Windies in Tests this year, tallying 27 wickets in five Tests at an average of 24.
A match haul of 10 for 146 against Australia on a slow pitch at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad earlier this year was one of his outstanding performances and one which Roach still cherishes.
“The performance in Trinidad is sort of a benchmark for me. Obviously, it was the first 10-wicket and my best overall [haul] in Test cricket so that is something I will remember throughout the rest of my career,” he noted.
“It came on a pitch that wasn’t really offering a lot to the fast bowlers so I had to dig deep and make it happen.
“It taught me a lot and the greatest lesson was how to work when the odds are against you. Some days, the ball comes out and does exactly what you want. Other days you have to make it happen, so I’m prepared to make it happen.”