ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has taken aim at 300 wickets after crediting “blood sweat and tears” for the achievement of equalling the legendary Michael Holding on 249 wickets, during the opening Test against Bangladesh which finished on Sunday.
The 33-year-old, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his seven-wicket haul in the contest at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, said he anticipated continuing at international level for a few years yet, giving him enough time to reach the landmark.
Courtney Walsh (519), Sir Curtly Ambrose (405), Malcolm Marshall (376) and Lance Gibbs (309) are the only West Indies bowlers to have passed 300 wickets.
“[I want to reach] 300 Test wickets,” Roach said. “I have 249 now but I still have two to three more years in me.
“I am proud because of how I started. Obviously, I came into the team under very difficult conditions and then, obviously, to build a career and get amongst the great, is always a good feeling.
“I am always one for stats. I love my stats. I always look at my stats – every night. Even if I’m not playing, I still look at my stats, so it’s good to be among the greats. It’s good to be up there with all the fantastic people in West Indies cricket.”
Roach overtook Sir Garfield Sobers (235) during the England series in March and now lies joint sixth on the all-time West Indies list next to Holding.
His next target before the 300 club will be Joel Garner, who is fifth on the all-time list with 259 wickets.
Roach is the only active West Indies player with more than 200 Test wickets, the next best being Shannon Gabriel with 161. He has taken 127 wickets at an average of 23 from 35 Tests over the last 5-1/2 years, leaving him among the elite in the world.
However, during that period, West Indies have also struggled, winning only 15 of 44 matches to remain in the bottom half of the International Cricket Council rankings.