Kemar Roach: We'll compete better in Uppal

Oct 12, 2018, 11:53 IST | Harit N Joshi

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach optimistic of an improved show in the second Test against India starting today after returning from his grandmother's funeral

Kemar Roach: We'll compete better in Uppal
Kemar Roach during a practice session at Uppal on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

When Kemar Roach first travelled to India in 2011, he got a look-in only in the second Test at Kolkata where he claimed 2-106. When he was picked for the 2013 India tour, he picked up a shoulder injury and never made it. And after his third India call-up, Roach, 30, now the pace spearhead of the inexperienced West Indies team, had to return home as soon as he set his foot on Indian soil due to the passing away of his grandmother. As a result, Roach missed the first Test in Rajkot where his team were thrashed by World No. 1 India.

Ahead of the second and final Test against India here today, Roach (163 wickets in 48 Tests) took time off to talk to mid-day here yesterday on the pressure to deliver every time, his rise in stature in the West Indies Test team and his ambition to be in the elite league of fast bowlers.
Excerpts:

Playing after losing a family member will provide a different challenge for you…
Yeah, it's been a tough few weeks for me. I was very distracted. I came here and I was raring to go, but then the passing away of my family member was very tough. She (grandma) is gone now. I pray for her [gets emotional].

Are you ready for the challenge mentally?
I am now focused. Cricket is my life, so I am more focused for WI. I am raring to go and obviously I want to give my best to help my team win.

What are your plans for the India tour?
I got a chance to watch cricket [first Test]. The conditions are tough for our guys. I think we stuck to our task, but we could have done better. Coming into this match, the guys are a little more real about the conditions and how India will bowl to us. They are more focused and ready to go. I feel it will be a better game this time. They will compete much better.

You are now the pace spearhead, but you had to wait for this opportunity...
Injuries were the major reasons for that [breaks in international cricket]. The workload is pretty high for me. You want to depend a lot on the main bowlers. So, injuries were a bit of a setback. I am very confident right now. The last three years have been fantastic. I am more confident than I was before with more experience. I am looking forward to this Test.

Do you feel hard done by when bowlers at the other end release the pressure that you create?
It's cricket. We are a pretty inexperienced side. Our team is not as steady as we would like it to be. With guys coming in and out, it is pretty tough to set the core players. The guys coming in have to learn on the spot and it's pretty hard at the international level. It's pretty tough, but you have to just go out there and enjoy. We have to set goals and plans and try and execute them most of the time. Hopefully, the guys will learn as quickly as possible and they become better cricketers.

Does it bother you that despite being rated quite highly, you are not considered among the top bowlers in the world?
That's fine. People have their opinion. I am happy with my cricket. I think I am ranked 20 in the world now [in Test cricket]. After me being out for two years [due to injury], I think that is very good. I am working hard to get back to the Top 10 again. That is one of my goals. The key is to keep working hard. There are some quality bowlers in the world like Jimmy Anderson and Dale Steyn. These guys are fantastic. I would like to emulate them and so I have to keep working harder.

What do you need to do to be in that elite league of Test bowlers?
I have to play more. The guys in the Top 5 have played a lot of cricket over the years and that's why they get more chances to pick more wickets. As every team is ranked above us, so there’s more bowling points for the bowlers. The more I play, the higher I will get in the rankings.

Any aims to come back to the IPL?
Of course, I want to play in the IPL. It's the best T20 league in the world. I experienced it six or seven years ago [with Deccan Chargers]. It was a good experience as I played with the likes of VVS Laxman and Adam Gilchrist. I was young and I was learning my trade at that time. I never got a chance after that, but if I get a chance again, I would love to be a part of it. The atmosphere is just electrifying. I would love to come back to the IPL.

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