Kemar Roach began his career as a bowler trading in high pace, one good enough to cause serious discomfort to Ricky Ponting, one of the games most adept players of fast bowling. Injury, however, has lessened the potency of what was probably his main weapon and so Roach worked to develop the other facets of the trade. As a result, he has developed into the West Indies’ most skilled fast bowler.
No longer frightening batsmen with pace, he now relies on accuracy, swing, seam movement, and other subtleties. He is something of a specialist against left-handers, employing a demanding line into the batsman from round the wicket and occasionally shifting the ball away towards slips. The result is that he has been a terror to left-handers in the recent Tests he has played. He will no doubt be hoping to maintain that level of effectiveness in the 50-over game.
Roach is not the stereotypical fast bowler. He is neither tall nor sturdily built and has broken down on a number of occasions. What he lacks in natural assets, however, he makes up for in resilience, sometimes returning from injuries sharper from how he left.
We have heard him being compared to the incomparable Malcolm Marshall. No praise can be higher than that, for Marshall remains at the very top of the heap. Most would agree that Roach is not yet at that level, but it is a testament to his abilities that anyone would even think of him in the same breath.
The 30-year-old Barbadian is currently at the peak of his powers, as recent demolitions of Bangladesh and England in Tests in the Caribbean show. He has not always been a steady member of the limited-overs teams and did not take part in the recent series against England, but the West Indies will be hoping his considerable skills will make a difference in England in the summer.