Seamer Kemar Roach has set his sights firmly on becoming only the fifth West Indies bowler to take 300 wickets in Tests.
The 31-year-old currently has 189 wickets from 54 Tests and needs just four wickets to surpass the legendary Sir Wes Hall (192) and a further 10 wickets to overtake another great, Sir Andy Roberts (202).
Fast bowler Courtney Walsh is the leading wicket-taker with 519 while Sir Curtly Ambrose (405), the late Malcolm Marshall (376) and Lance Gibbs (309) round out the top four.
Speaking at a special function for members of the Sandals Cricket Academy hosted by the Jamaica Cricket Association and West Indies team sponsors, Sandals, Roach said career milestones could only be achieved through hard work and urged the young cricketers not to sacrifice this quality.
“It’s hard work … cricket is very hard work and it’s also very enjoyable. You have to put in the hard work and you will reap the rewards. Don’t ever shy away,” he said.
“I’ve reached a few milestones in my career but there is always more to work for. My next goal is 200 Test wickets and from there aim for 300 Test wickets. I’m also hoping to win more matches for West Indies and help as we aim to be the top team in world cricket.”
Only this week, Roach was elevated to number eight in the ICC Test bowling rankings after an excellent outing in the first Test against India at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, which West Indies lost by 318 runs.
Roach took five wickets in the match and will once again lead the attack as the home side goes in search of a series-levelling win when the second Test bowls off at Sabina Park here Friday.
Captain Jason Holder, who is five wickets away from 100 in Tests, hailed the historic venue and said West Indies were upbeat ahead of the contest.
“It’s always great to here at Sabina Park, and for me it’s an honour to captain the West Indies team in the upcoming Test match against India at this wonderful venue,” Holder said.
“Cricket has been played here for over 100 years and this ground has a very rich history of Jamaica and West Indies cricket.”
The young cricketers gathered in the President’s Suite of the George Headley Stand at Sabina Park for the reception which was also attended by members and staff of the JCA, executives and representatives from Sandals, as well as parents and other family members of the players.
Holder, who addressed the group, highlighted the importance of being “good ambassadors” for the game.
“It is great to see the young players being rewarded for their performances in the game,” Holder said.
“I urge you to make full use of these opportunities and develop your skills, in cricket and in life. It is wonderful to represent your country … to be good ambassadors for your nation and the game of cricket.”