‘Hopefully We Ruin It’ – West Indies Kemar Roach is Ready to Challenge Anderson’s Farewell Test Match

West Indies cricket team stalwart Kemar Roach is gearing up to spoil legendary England pacer James Anderson’s farewell Test at the iconic Lord’s cricket team, as the Caribbean team will face the Three Lions in a crucial three-match Test series in July.

Kemar Roach has been instrumental in Surrey’s consecutive County Championship title victories. After a lukewarm start to the season, he roared back to form with eight wickets in his team’s win over Warwickshire, including a 6-44 in the second innings.

Roach will available to Surrey for two more matches before shifting focus to the West Indies tour of England.

After the match-winning spell, Roach paid tribute to James Anderson, who announced that England’s first Test match of their home summer against West Indies between July 10 and 14 at Lord’s will call curtains on his illustrious career.

“He’s a great fast bowler, probably one of the greatest,” said Roach. “I’m sad to see him go but we all know you can’t play forever. But he’s done fantastically for England and he deserves whatever he gets.”

However, Roach expressed his desire to spoil Anderson’s farewell: “That first Test match against us … hopefully we ruin it! He’s highly respected, he’s always given me great advice as well. He will go down as one of the greatest to ever do it. I wish him all the best after that Test match, and hopefully he enjoys whatever comes next!”

Roach’s international teammates Jayden Seales and Jason Holder have also enjoyed fruitful runs, respectively for Sussex and Worcestershire. With 23 scalps at 21.89, Seales is the leading wicket-taker in Division Two, while Holder struck a 110-ball 123 against Kent recently.

Roach backs the current crop of West Indian fast bowlers to achieve their first series win in England since 1988. With Shamar Joseph’s emergence and the availability of in-form players like Seales, Holder, Alzarri Joseph, and himself, Roach feels they are shaping up well for the upcoming tour.

“It’s a very highly talented and skilful group,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the best in my time, it could be! Tough to say, Shannon Gabriel has been very good for us as well. This group is pretty skilful. Shamar Joseph is still young, only played two Test matches, but he’s had a really good start.

“[We have] that X-factor. I think we always want to have that X-factor in the team. We had it with Shannon Gabriel for a couple of years and myself. But with Shamar and Jayden Seales now, Alzarri as well they have added a lot of X-factor. On any given day they can have a great spell and be devastating. That is what you want. You just want it as consistent as possible to have those great days. It’s cricket so every day is not a given. To have three guys like that in the team, a captain to have that to select, for any given day or any given surface.

“It’s good to see it [young bowlers emerging]. Physically, it’s hard. But it’s good to see young guys coming in. It gives you energy, the way they’re active, and get around. The energy in the dressing-room is good. It makes you feel like kind of a kid again. That’s good for a guy of my age. I don’t feel old, but physically… I’m happy to see those guys come in with their excitement and exuberance.”

West Indies currently hold the Botham-Richards Trophy after they beat England 1-0 at home in 2021/22, a tour from which Anderson was dropped. Roach is “pretty confident” of his team’s chances this time: “As a group we are pretty confident. England is always our biggest series. We play the most Test matches against England.

“We want to put up a good fight, put on a good show. We haven’t won a Test series in England for quite a while so it is good to come with some confidence, and hopefully we can do it this time.”

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