Kemar Roach: West Indies want to ruin James Anderson’s Test farewell

Kemar Roach
Kemar Roach takes six for 46 in Warwickshire's second innings to put champions Surrey back on top of division one - Alex Davidson/Getty Images for Surrey CCC

Kemar Roach bowled Surrey to victory over Warwickshire then warned England that his “X-factor” West Indies attack will be out to “ruin” James Anderson’s Test swansong at Lord’s in July.

Surrey took just 39 minutes on the final day to knock off the remaining 68 runs they required to secure a nine-wicket win that leaves them top of the table by 21 points after five games. Roach has played a key role in the county’s back-to-back titles and, despite a quiet start to the season, came to the party with eight wickets in this match, including six for 44 in the second innings.

The 35-year-old has two more games in his third stint with Surrey, before his attention will turn to his fourth Test tour of England. The first game of that series, at Lord’s starting on July 10, will be Anderson’s last, after he announced his retirement over the weekend.

Roach paid tribute to Anderson, whom he has come up against 12 times in Test cricket since they first met in 2012, but said with a smile that the West Indies would be out to spoil the party.

“He’s a great fast bowler, probably one of the greatest,” he said. “I’m sad to see him go but we all know you can’t play forever. But he’s done fantastically for England and he deserves whatever he gets. That first Test match against us… hopefully we ruin it! He’s highly respected, he’s always given me great advice as well. He will go down as one of the greatest to ever do it. I wish him all the best after that Test match, and hopefully he enjoys whatever comes next!”

Ben Stokes' stumps are sent flying
Kemar Roach castles Ben Stokes during West Indies' last Test tour of England four years ago - Martin Rickett/Pool via AP

West Indies currently hold the Botham-Richards Trophy after they beat England 1-0 in the Caribbean in 2022, a tour for which Anderson was dropped. But they have not won a Test series in England since 1988.

Roach believes that they are building an attack to do so, especially given Shamar Joseph’s stunning emergence on the tour of Australia in January – when they won at the Gabba. Jayden Seales is the leading wicket-taker in Division Two with Sussex this season, while Jason Holder has performed commendably for Worcestershire and Alzarri Joseph has pace to burn, too.

“It’s a very highly talented and skilful group,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the best in my time, it could be! Tough to say, Shannon Gabriel has been very good for us as well. This group is pretty skilful. Shamar Joseph is still young, only played two Test matches, but he’s had a really good start.

“[We have] that X-factor. I think we always want to have that X-factor in the team. We had it with Shannon Gabriel for a couple of years and myself. But with Shamar and Jayden Seales now, Alzarri as well they have added a lot of X-factor. On any given day they can have a great spell and be devastating. That is what you want. You just want it as consistent as possible to have those great days. It’s cricket so every day is not a given. To have three guys like that in the team, a captain to have that to select, for any given day or any given surface.

“It’s good to see it [young bowlers emerging]. Physically, it’s hard. But it’s good to see young guys coming in. It gives you energy, the way they’re active, and get around. The energy in the dressing-room is good. It makes you feel like kind of a kid again. That’s good for a guy of my age. I don’t feel old, but physically… I’m happy to see those guys come in with their excitement and exuberance.

“As a group we are pretty confident. England is always our biggest series. We play the most Test matches against England. 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.”

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