More woe for Windies attack as injured Roach flies home


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The Independent Online

Kemar Roach, the best fast bowler in the West Indies team by a Barbados mile, is out of their tour of England. He flew home yesterday with sore shins which probably resulted from bowling with a sprained ankle during the first two Test matches.

"It's nothing too serious, just wear and tear from fast bowling," said a spokesman for the squad. "We hope that with rest he should be fit in time for the series against New Zealand at home next month."

The absence of Roach, 23, will be hugely felt by a side for which little has gone right despite their best efforts at resistance. They are 2-0 down in the series to England.

Genuinely quick and hostile, Roach is a throwback to an era when West Indies had a production line of fast bowlers from Barbados and everywhere else in the Caribbean. He has taken 70 wickets in his 19 Tests at 29.31 each.

Although it was pretty clear from early on at Lord's that Roach was not at peak fitness following three hard Test matches against Australia spread over only 20 days when he bowled 122 overs, he had been determined to see it through. He has added another 63 overs in the two Test matches and it appears that his body has simply had enough.

After bowling only five overs in England's second innings at Trent Bridge on Monday he hobbled off. Roach has made his presence felt in both matches, usually coming wide of the crease and generating explosive pace, which was compounded by steep bounce as England's embryonic middle order batsman, Jonny Bairstow, found to his discomfort.

His absence will mean either a recall for Fidel Edwards or a return to Test cricket for Tino Best, who was called up to the squad last week after the 24-year-old Trinidadian fast bowler Shannon Gabriel went home with what was described as stress reaction.

The injuries are certain to prompt discussion about the workloads of the Caribbean's young bowlers. The selectors have yet to decide whether a replacement is needed. With one Test to go and with four fast bowlers still here it is thought unlikely, but they might want to take a look at fast bowlers, Jason Holder, 20, or Carlos Brathwaite, 23.

For a struggling side this is the last thing they needed. It further reduces the options for a one-day squad they have yet to announce and which was West Indies' best chance of success on this tour.