LONDON, CMC – A year ago, seamer Kemar Roach was having serious doubts he would ever return to international cricket.
The talented right-armer was still struggling to recover from a shoulder injury which had resulted in surgery, and subsequently also led to a loss of form.
Recently recalled for the three-Test tour of England after 18 months out of West Indies colours, the 29-year-old rebounded in style when he snatched a five-wicket haul at historic Lord’s on the second day of the decisive Test on Friday.
“I had doubts [about my return]. It was a pretty tough time,” the Barbadian told reporters.
“Breaking your shoulder is never easy but lots of hard rehab and a lot of hours of training got me back here and I’m proud of myself to be able to come back and still perform for the West Indies.”
Roach bowled superbly to finish with five for 72 as England were dismissed for 194 in their first innings, in reply to the Caribbean side’s 123.
With the performance, he became the ninth West Indies bowler to make the honours board at the home of cricket, joining the likes of legends Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall and Andy Roberts.
“It means a lot. A lot of players did it before me – Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall – and to be a part of that [list] is an amazing feeling,” he explained.
“A lot of players have come here and never got it done so to be a part of that board is history. For me, it’s just about continuing to improve as a cricketer and doing it again if I come back here.”
Roach burst onto the scene in 2009 against Bangladesh in the Caribbean, bowling with express speed and quickly cementing himself in the side.
But with injuries taking their toll, Roach has cut down on pace but has become more clever with the ball – an asset he said had served him well in the current England series.
He also said advice from former West Indies bowlers on how to use the English conditions had been a boost.
“I’ve learnt my art a little bit more. I’m more experienced,” he pointed out.
“Obviously I’ve been talking to past players [like] Corey Collymore, guys that played in England for a couple of years so coming here I was prepared, so obviously I knew how to bowl on certain pitches – the length and stuff that was going to be crucial.
“Kudos to those guys for helping me out so it’s all about me going out there and exhibiting what I’ve learnt.”
Roach finished the series with 11 wickets at 29 runs apiece as West Indies surrendered by nine wickets on Saturday’s third day, to also lose the series 2-1.