Hailing from the fast bowling haven of Barbados, Kemar Roach’s tale is an interesting one. He made his international debut when the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) went on strike over wage issues in 2009, and the selectors chose a B team for the Test debut against Bangladesh. But he really made his name in the Australia tour in 2009 when he announced himself to the world.
Despite his short stature, he creates remarkable speed with a swift arm motion. Roach has got a nasty yorker.
In the first four years of his Test career, Roach had a strong start, taking 82 wickets in 21 games. He claimed five five-fors while averaging 27.69. However, in the 16 Tests he played between 2013 and 2016, he averaged 35.45 and only grabbed 40 wickets. When Roach visited England in August 2017, he finished the trip with the most wickets for his team. In 35 Tests since his comeback in 2017, Roach has taken 127 wickets at an average of 23.33.
Top Order Hunter
In this style, the top four batters account for around half of his career total (125 out of 249). A total of 102 of the players batting in the top three were taken out by Roach, who stands on his career with 249 Test wickets at present, accounting for 42.16 percent of his total. Only Zaheer Khan has a higher percentage of top-three batters claimed than the other bowlers with 200+ wickets.
New Ball Master
Since 2017, Roach has had success creating breakthroughs with the new ball, taking 44 wickets in the opening 15 overs of the innings. Only Stuart Broad (53) and James Anderson (44), both in the same spell, had more wickets than Roach in the first 15 overs. Among bowlers who have taken more than 15 wickets, Roach's 17.81 average is second only to R Ashwin's 17.80.
No sign of slowing down
Roach has surpassed Michael Holding and has become only the sixth bowler for the West Indies to reach 250 Test wickets.
"I am more impressed in the fact that he has been playing for so long as fast bowlers don't usually extend their careers as long as he has," Michael Holding said in a video posted by Cricket West Indies. "He has been going for 13 years now and has quite a few more years in front of him if he so wishes."
Roach's strike rate of 52.6 is also better than West Indies greats Courtney Walsh (54.5) and Curtly Ambrose's (54.5), despite the fact that his average (26.71) is on the higher side compared to the other bowlers in the 250-wicket club (57.8).
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Featured photo: Randy Brooks / AFP