West Indies had lost an immense talent in Jofra Archer when he made his international debut for England in May last year. But West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick believes that the present pace attack has the potential to lift the standard back to what the nation had achieved during tehir glory days of the 70s and 80s.
Estwick, speaking from Old Trafford, compared the present fast-bowling combination with that of the 80s when he himself had struggled to break into Barbados team, let alone the international side, despite an impressive bowling average of 21.
The present attack comprises Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, and Jason Holder, who played a key role in West Indies's 2-1 win over England in their last meeting in the Caribbean, along with the addition of talented youngster Chemar Holder and Oshane Thomas from Jamaica.
“The fast bowling is key to us and we’re beginning to get blessed again with fast bowlers in the West Indies,” Estwick said. “It’s an exciting time for us. We’ve got a group of fast bowlers we think can challenge any team in the world. The key will be to get that match fitness and sharpness up again and we can challenge England.
“You respect what the greats have done but you have to forge your own identity. We had six outstanding fast bowlers in the 80s. If you remember, Wayne Daniel and Sylvester Clarke probably only played 11 or 12 Tests [each] but both have more than 900 first-class wickets. We have four or five now who can lift that standard again.”
Meanwhile, for Archer, he had made his debut for England last year before World Cup 2019 after he managed to get British citizenship, a dream he saw after he was overlooked by West Indies for the U-19 World Cup in 2014.
Eastwick said, “Jofra is Bajan by birth but he made a choice to represent England. I’m happy for him, but the friendship ends once we walk on that park and Jofra knows that. When you lose a player of that talent you have some tinge of regret but you can’t hold that regret for the rest of your life, you have got to look forward.
“All I’ll say to Jofra is, good luck to him. I speak to him quite a bit. As long as he doesn’t do well against West Indies, it’s all good. He can do well against all the other international teams.”