England vs West Indies - Joe Root’s absence is advantage for tourists: Kemar Roach
Eng vs WI: Roach is also expecting a keen contest between Windies skipper Jason Holder and Stokes, the No. 1 and No. 2 all-rounders in the ICC Test rankings.Updated: Jul 06, 2020 18:55 IST
With Joe Root not playing the first Test between England and West Indies starting on Wednesday in Southampton, it will be advantage for the travelling party, according to Windies fast bowler Kemar Roach.
Root will be with his wife for the birth of their second child.
“A Test match without Root, the fantastic stats he has, is going to be a bit of an advantage for us,” Roach said via Zoom press conference. “He’s one that keeps the England batting together, he’s done fantastically for them for the last couple of years.
“Without him it is a bit of an advantage for us, but also a little bit of a disadvantage because there’s some new guys coming in that we obviously have to work out and see what their weaknesses are and try to exploit them. So it goes 50-50, but once we get stuck in and hit our straps and put the balls in the right area I think we stand a very good chance of going out there and performing well.”
In place of Root, Ben Stokes will lead the England team. “I’m a huge fan of Ben Stokes,” Roach said. “He’s a fantastic cricketer. He’s very energetic, brings a lot of energy to the field and a lot of confidence when he bats or when he bowls, so I’m expecting a very free and relaxed England team to come out there and express themselves because that’s the way he plays.
“It’s interesting to see him captain, obviously it’s the first time we’re going to see it, but I’m sure that with him at the head, they’re in good hands as well, so I wish him all the best.”
Roach is also expecting a keen contest between Windies skipper Jason Holder and Stokes, the No. 1 and No. 2 all-rounders in the ICC Test rankings.
“It’s always good to have challenges, it’s always good to have battles, it brings out the best in you,” Roach added. “I hope he and Ben Stokes go at it in a couple of Test matches here. They’re both fantastic cricketers and I’m sure that once they’re battling it will be great cricket to watch.”
The series will be aired LIVE Sony Six channels from 8th July 2020, 3.30 pm onwards