Knee injury forces Roach out of West Indies Test series against England

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Kemar Roach, West Indies’ veteran fast bowler, has been withdrawn from their 15-man squad for the upcoming Test tour of England, after sustaining a knee injury while playing for Surrey in the County Championship.

Roach, who turns 36 on Sunday, claimed 18 wickets at 25.77 in six appearances this season for Surrey, the defending County Champions, and showcased his enduring reverse-swing abilities in a match-winning spell of 6-46 in his penultimate match against Warwickshire at the Kia Oval in May.

However, after claiming four more wickets in Surrey’s subsequent home win against Worcestershire, Roach missed the final match of his county stint, away to Hampshire.

Now, with West Indies building towards the first Test against England at Lord’s on July 10, he has been replaced by Jeremiah Louis, the uncapped fast bowler from St. Kitts and Nevis, and brother of fellow tourist and opening batter Mikyle.

“Kemar’s skill and experience in English conditions will be missed,” Desmond Haynes, West Indies’ lead selector, said. “However this opportunity has been long in the making for Jeremiah Louis. He certainly has the skill and experience to make an impact in England.”

It is a sad blow for Roach, the elder statesman of West Indies’ attack, whose tally of 270 Test wickets at 27.74 places him at number five in their all-time list. Sixty-one of those have come in 16 previous Tests against England, whom he had first faced at Lord’s in 2012, a venue at which he wrote himself onto the dressing-room honours board with figures of 5-72 in his next visit in 2017.

Speaking earlier this summer, Roach had talked up West Indies’ prospects of competing hard in their three-match series, particularly on the fast-bowling front, with Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Shamar Joseph – the star of their victory over Australia in Brisbane this winter – all helping to form one of the most potent seam attacks since the region’s heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.

Between them, Roach joked that West Indies were intent on “ruining” the farewell of England’s own veteran quick James Anderson, who confirmed last month that the Lord’s Test would be the last of his 21-year career.

“I have no retirement time in sight,” Roach had himself said in May. “I think I can go as long as I want, but obviously it’s all on performances. The older you get, you need to have performances to stay in the team.

“I’ve been doing well, but I just want to keep helping the youngsters so they’re in a good space – mentally and physically. I’ll be happy to see those guys going after me and breaking those records if they have to.”

In addition to Louis’ call-up, Cricket West Indies confirmed that Isai Thorne, a 19-year-old fast bowler from Guyana, would be joining the squad as a development player. The squad are due to play a warm-up match against a County Select XI in Beckenham from July 3-6.

West Indies Test squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Alick Athanaze, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Alzarri Joseph (vc), Shamar Joseph, Mikyle Louis, Zachary McCaskie, Kirk McKenzie, Gudakesh Motie, Jeremiah Louis, Jayden Seales, Kevin Sinclair (BBC)

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