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Roach feared for his international career

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Sep
9
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Kemar Roach feared he would not return to international cricket after sustaining a serious shoulder injury.

Roach, who on Friday became the sixth West Indies player to earn a place on the Lord’s honours board for overseas bowlers, was obliged to undergo surgery after breaking a bone in his right shoulder during the tour to India in 2014. For a while it seemed he would never recover the pace or consistency that had once rendered him such an exciting prospect and, before this tour, he had not played a Test since the start of January 2016.

But he has bowled impressively – albeit without gaining the wickets he deserved – throughout this series and has now joined a distinguished list of Caribbean cricketers to have claimed five-wicket hauls at ‘the home of cricket.’ They are Sonny Ramadhin (who claimed 6 for 86 and and 5 for 66 in 1950), Charlie Griffith (who claimed 5-91 in 1963), Andy Roberts (who claimed 5-60 and 5-63 in 1976), Michael Holding (who claimed 6-67 in 1980), Malcolm Marshall (who claimed 6-85 in 1984 and 6-32 in 1988), Courtney Walsh (who claimed 6-74 in 2000) and Fidel Edwards (who claimed 6 for 92 in 2009).

Roach, who has given West Indies a decent chance of securing their first series win in England since 1988, was overwhelmed to join such a distinguished list.

“I had some doubts [whether I would return],” Roach said. “It was a pretty tough time. Breaking your shoulder is not easy but a lot of hard rehab and hours of training got me back here. I’m proud of myself to be able to come back and perform for the West Indies.

“It means a lot to earn a place on that honours board. There are a lot of players went before me, the likes of Courtney Walsh and Malcolm Marshall. And a lot of players who have come here and never got it done. So to be part of that board is history.”

Roach paid credit to, among others, Corey Collymore for their help in him achieving such a feat. Collymore, a fellow Barbadian, played several seasons of county cricket in England (he represented Warwickshire, Sussex and, most memorably, Middlesex) alongside his international career and was therefore well-placed to offer his advice to Roach.

“I’ve been talking to past players,” Roach said. “The likes of Corey Collymore; guys who have played in England for a couple of years. So coming here I was prepared and knew how to bowl on certain pitches. Kudos to those guys for helping me out. I’ve learnt my art a little bit more. I’m more experienced.”

While Roach felt his West Indies side – so dismissed before the series – had already proved a point after their memorable victory at Leeds, he warned England they were not finished yet.

“A young side have come to England and put up a hell of a fight,” he said. “And we’re going to keep fighting. We had a tough time at Edgbaston but to come back so strong in Leeds was an amazing feeling. We have come here to win and the guys are very confident.”

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