In a candid conversation with reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday, West Indies pacer Kemar Roach expressed his unwavering love for Test cricket and offered sage advice to emerging fast bowler Shamar Joseph.
Roach, a seasoned campaigner with 80 Tests under his belt since his debut in July 2009, delved into his passion for the red-ball format and the mentorship role he enjoys in the current West Indies setup.
“Honestly, I love the red-ball format. I’ve played one-dayers and the T20 format as well, but I think my heart was always a part of the red ball,” Roach remarked.
“I just wanted to be a part of those mega cricketers back in the days. The Joel Garners, the Malcolm Marshalls, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, I just want to be a part of those names.”
Roach’s sentiments echo a deep-rooted connection with the traditional form of the game, harking back to the era of West Indian cricket legends.
He acknowledged the changing landscape of the sport but emphasized the importance of nurturing young talents who may face distractions from lucrative franchise leagues.
“Test cricket is still at the hearts of West Indian cricketers at home. It’s just about us to provide support around it. To keep those guys interested in red-ball cricket,” Roach stated, highlighting the significance of maintaining the allure of Test cricket amid the T20 frenzy.
The 35-year-old Barbadian stressed the distraction franchises could pose to players but expressed confidence in the West Indies players’ enduring love for red-ball cricket.
“They take Tests very seriously still. They are very proud to be a part of the red-ball team for the West Indies,” he asserted, underlining the deep-seated passion within the team.
In response to a query about the emerging talent Shamar Joseph, who recently claimed a five-wicket haul in his debut Test against Australia at Adelaide, Roach offered valuable advice.
“The best advice I can give him is to build his legacy. Understand what you want from cricket. That’s up to him to determine if it’s monetary or just stats and statistics or whatever,” Roach said.
Roach cautioned Joseph about the distractions that come with newfound success and the need to make conscious decisions about his cricketing goals.
“So he needs to choose what he wants and thinks is best for his career going forward. So it’s up to him, as a young man, but I give him that advice,” Roach added, providing a glimpse into the mentorship role he has embraced.
Reflecting on his journey, Roach spoke about the transition from being a young player alongside stalwarts like Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell, and Fidel Edwards to being a mentor figure.
“I took the knowledge and learned from it. So obviously, for me, it’s all about passing on the mantle to the youngsters,” Roach remarked.
He acknowledged Joseph’s eagerness to learn and emphasized the importance of open conversations.
“At this stage, he’s willing to learn. We have a lot of conversations. So, I think once he keeps doing that, not just coming from me but anyone who he thinks can help him in his career, he can take a lot of knowledge on board and become a better cricketer,” Roach concluded.
As the West Indies gear up for the second Test against Australia, slated to be a pink-ball encounter from January 25-29, Roach’s insights provide a glimpse into the delicate balance between embracing the changing dynamics of cricket and preserving the cherished tradition of Test cricket in the West Indies camp.
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