Kemar Roach surprised England left James Anderson and Stuart Broad at home

Kemar Roach West Indies England

West Indies bowler Kemar Roach admits he was surprised to see England leave out his old sparring partners James Anderson and Stuart Broad and believes the decision is good news for his side.

The first of three Tests between the teams gets under way in Antigua on Tuesday, with the tourists’ two most prolific wicket-takers watching on from the UK after their controversial omission.

As the leader of the West Indies attack, Roach has previously enjoyed pitting his wits against the experienced pair and thinks they will be missed.

“It was quite surprising. I definitely thought both would still be involved,” he said.

Roach has enjoyed plenty of battles against England's old guard.
Roach has enjoyed plenty of battles against England’s old guard (Jason O’Brien/PA)

“Decisions have been made from that end and it’s a slight advantage for us. Those experienced players missing leaves a little bit of a hole for England to fill.

“Robinson, Woakes and Wood are still fantastic bowlers, we still take them seriously, but once we get our plans right we should be good going into the series.”

At 33, Roach is six years Anderson’s junior and two years younger than Broad, but with 231 wickets in 68 Tests he is the senior seamer in the home squad.

Asked how he would have felt about being axed to make way for younger players to gain experience – which was part of England’s reasoning for their selection call – he left no doubt about how that would go down.

“No, not too well. It definitely wouldn’t go too well,” he said.

  • Tests: 5
  • Wickets: 23
  • Average: 22.39
  • Best figures: 5/17

“There would definitely be some breaking news, for sure!”

Roach was named player of the series last time England toured in 2019, taking 19 wickets as the West Indies won 2-1.

“Obviously for me, England is our biggest series,” he said.

“I take England coming to the Caribbean very seriously. It’s a very good record we have, only losing one series at home in a long period of time, 50 years.

“I think the onus is on us as players to keep that record in tact. I don’t really want to lose that record. I want to take the tradition and the record further forward. Hopefully we can hold it for 100 years! That would be fantastic.”