TWO key players are likely to be out of action for the West Indies for at least the next couple of months.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach, 25, and short-game specialist Keiron Pollard, 26, who have already missed the current back-to-back tours of India and New Zealand, are both recovering from surgery.
Roach’s was for a broken bone in his right, bowling shoulder and Pollard’s for damaged ligaments in his right knee sustained in a charity football match in September.
Another main man, Chris Gayle, the 34-year-old left-handed opener, veteran of 99 Tests, 255 ODIs and 34 T20 Internationals, was ruled out of the current New Zealand series when he tore a hamstring in the first ODI in India. He is unlikely to be ready for the five ODIs and two T20s in New Zealand that start on Boxing Day, December 26.
Roach was operated on just over a week ago in Jamaica by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) specialist Dr Akshai Mansingh, who estimated a recovery period of between two and three months; Pollard’s surgery was performed in Philadelphia last month.
According to a source close to Pollard, the big Trinidadian’s recovery period was given as four to six months, “but seems more likely to be four”.
That would also place his return in February.
“He’s a big unit and the strain he puts on his knees, especially in the field, was bound to take its toll,” he source said.
“It’s bad enough but, fortunately, it appears not quite as bad as it first seemed.”
If the prognoses are correct, the two would miss the regional Super50 tournament in Trinidad that starts in late January.
They could conceivably be ready for the England tour of the Caribbean for three ODIs and three T20s February 28-March 13 and to join the West Indies’s defence of their World T20 title in Bangladesh when their first match, against India, is March 23.
Spearhead of the attack since his debut in 2009, Roach has 85 wickets in 23 Tests at an average of 27.71 each.
Pollard, fierce hitter, sharp fielder and useful medium-pacer, has been a certain selection in 85 ODIs and 37 ODIs over the past five years.
Both have already missed the current back-to-back tours of India and New Zealand.
Roach told interviewer Barry Wilkinson on the latest weekly Line and Length tv cricket programme, that he has earmarked February for resumption of training.
He revealed that, after three medical examinations and a fitness test prior to West Indies’s tour of India in October, the problem was identified as “a possible muscle strain”.
Only after a series of MRI and CT scans in India, did doctors there realise that the bone was broken. He returned home to have surgery.
“My aim is to be back out in training by February,” Roach said.
The injury has lingered since the Champions Trophy in India last September, in which Roach was overseas pro with Australian team, the Brisbane Heat.
‘It was in a practice game that I began to feel some pain so I only played one game for Brisbane in the tournament,” Roach recalled. “I had therapy on the shoulder, played in the (Barbados Cricket Association) final for Maple against UWI (on October 13), but bowled only one over when the shoulder went out of place so I came off the field.”
He said that he made the WICB aware of the situation before he was chosen for India.
“On arriving in India, there wasn’t much improvement,” he explained. “I was still feeling pain after bowling a few balls in the nets so it was examined again.”
That was when doctors there identified a broken bone as the problem and recommended surgery.