West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is a “genuine great” and can “easily” achieve the milestone of 300 Test wickets with proper “workload management”, says legendary pacer Courtney Walsh.
Roach will be a key bowler for West Indies when they begin the three-Test series against England at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday.
“Workload management is something that they can look at it. I don’t think he has played a lot of shorter versions of the game. But it’s up to him as an individual as well to set the standards, set the goals he wants to achieve,” Walsh e told ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
“He will get 300 quite easily once the workload management is good and he is playing consistent cricket. What you don’t want to happen to him is that every time he comes back he starts all over again.”
The 57-year-old Walsh is impressed by the work ethic and patience shown by Roach in his bowling over the years.
“… his patience shows he will stick around, and he knows what to do and how to go about achieving that. To me that is what has got him to be as consistent as he is now. His work ethic has gone up as well and he’s doing all he can do to be one of the greats.
“He’s a genuine great. His achievement shows that. What I like about him is his mannerism: he’s always cool and collected and he’s prepared to work.”
The 32-year-old Roach is seven wickets short of picking 200 Test scalps, a milestone that only eight West Indies fast bowlers have achieved so far.
Walsh hoped Roach can achieve it in the opening Test of the three-match series.
“Hopefully, if he can get it out of the way in the first Test match, it’ll be perfect as he could then relax and enjoy the rest of the series,” said Walsh, who took 519 wickets in 132 Tests.
Walsh believes Roach needs someone like Curtly Ambrose, who had got to the 200-mark in 1994, as his new-ball partner to take that pressure off him.
“He has to have someone like I had Curtly (Ambrose). He needs to have someone in this team who can probably give him a smile or something different to take your mind away from it. And that in itself will help him to relax,” Walsh said.
The three-Test series will mark the resumption of international cricket amid the COVID-19 pandemic.