Fit-again Kemar Roach eyeing New Zealand comeback
Bridgetown (Barbados), May 20 (IANS/CMC): West Indies speedster Kemar Roach is eyeing a return from injury against the touring New Zealand team next month.
The 25-year-old has not played international cricket in nearly a year after being sidelined with a shoulder injury that required surgery last November, reports CMC. He had been picked for the tour of India that same month but was forced to return home without playing a game.
Roach said he had worked hard to regain fitness and hoped to force his way into the West Indies squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand bowling off June 8 in Jamaica.
"I have really missed playing. Seven months out of cricket is a long time and now I am at the point where I can play again, I want to be able to represent Maple, Barbados and West Indies," Roach told the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) website.
"I am very confident that once I get some more sessions in and some strength work, I will be raring to go for the first Test against New Zealand, if selected."
He added: "I had three months of strenuous therapy with Dr. Jacqueline King and Marita Marshall. It was tough because the shoulder was very weak but they did a great job along with Shannon Lashley (trainer) in getting me back strong again.
"After a surgery like this it is not going to be a hundred percent but I am definitely fit enough to play any length of cricket, whether it be a Test, four-day, one-day or a T20 match."
Last Saturday, Roach had his first taste of competitive cricket in seven months when he turned out for domestic club side Maple, in the BCA's Twenty20 Championship. He snared one for ten, from four overs.
Roach, who has played 23 Tests and 61 One Day Internationals, said he had undergone rehabilitation work with West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson, former West Indies all-rounder Vasbert Drakes - who is a BCA coach - along with ex-Windies seamer Corey Collymore.
"I was working with Vasbert and also had some sessions with Ottis. I was in the gym earlier in the year and then the bowling aspect of it started in April. It was basic stuff as in the rotation of the arm and the fundamentals of fast bowling," Roach pointed out.
"I practised with Maple the entire week before the game on Saturday. I was working with Corey and he helped me to get my technique back and some basic stuff about bowling.
"Corey watched me bowl on Saturday. He gave me some pointers on what he thought about my bowling and he told me about a few flaws that can be worked on in the next couple of weeks. It was a happy atmosphere and a very relaxed environment."
Roach had a close shave last month when he escaped without serious injury after the BMW sedan he was driving was involved in an early morning crash. He was taken to hospital by ambulance with a cut to the head.
However, with that incident behind him, Roach believes he and West Indies can challenge in the upcoming series and make up for the poor effort in New Zealand last year when the side were comprehensively beaten.
"After our Test series against New Zealand in New Zealand in December when we were beaten 2-0, I think this one is going to be very intense because the last time they came to the Caribbean two years ago we won both Tests," he said.
"With a new captain in Denesh Ramdin, I think the guys can put in some good performances and win this series," he said.