Roach hails young fast-bowling trio as ‘X-factor’

Veteran seamer Kemar Roach has hailed the fast bowling trio of Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Shamar Joseph as the “X-factor” the Caribbean side needs in order to make an impact in the two-Test series against England this July.

West Indies have not won a series on English soil in 36 years and have managed only two wins in their last 15 Tests there over the last 17 years.

However, with the emergence of the 24-year-old Shamar Joseph and the return to fitness of the 22-year-old Seales, coupled with the coming of age of Alzarri Joseph, 27, Roach believes the combination can make the difference on the upcoming tour.

“With Shamar and Jayden Seales now – Alzarri as well – they have added a lot of X factor to the bowling unit,” said Roach, who at 35 is the most experienced member of the West Indies seam attack with 270 Test wickets.

“On any given day, they can have a great spell and be devastating. That is what you want. You just want it as consistently as possible, to have those great days.

“To have three guys like that in the team, [for] a captain to have that to select, for any given day or any given surface [is great].

“As a group, we are pretty confident. England is always our biggest series … [and] 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.”

Roach will have reason for his optimism after watching Shamar Joseph bowl West Indies to their first Test win Down Under in 27 years last January. With the Aussies chasing a paltry target of 216 in Brisbane, Joseph produced an outstanding seven-wicket haul to hand West Indies a dramatic eight-run victory inside four days.

In the first Test in Adelaide, Joseph snatched a five-wicket haul on debut to also impress, despite the Caribbean side’s ten-wicket defeat.

Seales, meanwhile, has been superb for Sussex in the County Championship this season, two back-to-back five-wicket hauls pushing his tally for the season to a league-leading 23 wickets in Division Two.

He too made a bright start to his career as a 19-year-old, picking up a five-wicket haul against Pakistan in only his third Test, and has since gone on to claim 37 from 10 matches at 24 runs apiece.

Alzarri Joseph, with 92 wickets from 32 Tests, has become a fixture in the side and developed as a genuine quick bowler.

West Indies’ first Test at Lord’s on July 10 will also be the farewell Test for England fast bowling icon Jimmy Anderson but Roach said the Caribbean’s side focus will be on executing their game plan.

“It’s a very highly talented and skilful group,” said Roach, who lies fifth on the West Indies all-time list of wicket-takers.

“We’ve not had the best of times over here in England, so it’s more about focusing on us – not what they’re going to do for him (Anderson).

“He’s going to get what he deserves. But it’s all about us working hard to get what we deserve, which is a series win over here in England.”

The second Test will be played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham starting July 18. (CMC)