Kemar Roach: Surrey won’t show any complacency as title race reaches final two hurdles


Surrey’s players might be forgiven for enjoying the recent heatwave, after completing a two-and-a-bit day rout of Warwickshire ahead of a 13-day gap until their next County Championship fixture, at home to Northants next week.

But Kemar Roach, their overseas fast bowler, who describes The Oval as his second home, says the South Londoners will not be showing any complacency despite leading the Division One standings by 18 points.

“It’s all about retaining the championship title,” said Roach. “That’s the main focus for us and we definitely won’t be taking our eyes off that.

“We’ll put our feet up for a few days and plan for the last two games.”

Northants will be quaking in their boots after seeing the manner in which Roach and the rest of Surrey’s attack dismantled Warwickshire at the Oval.

By skittling the visitors out for 161 in their first dig, Rory Burns opted to re-insert his opponents – a move that paid off with Warwickshire managing just a further 138 after following-on.

“We thought it was a good batting wicket,” said Roach.

“There was a bit there for the bowlers and as a bowling unit we were outstanding.

“Bowling back-to-back was pretty tough. It was the first time I’d done that in a long time. But 17 wickets in a day, we were definitely happy.

“There was a little bit of lateral movement but we are a very skillful group, as you saw.”

International commitments with the West Indies caused Roach to miss the middle of the English summer, but before the start of the season he marked out Gus Atkinson and Tom Lawes as the two bowlers to watch out for at the Oval.

“You should hire me as a scout,” said the 35-year-old.

“Tom Lawes is amazing and everyone has seen Gus Atkinson now, delivering outstanding performances in England’s colours.

“The youth here at Surrey puts us in very good stead. I’m just looking to see who else they produce.

“Both of them ask me a lot of questions, particularly Tom.

“I can see a real improvement in him. He’s fit, he’s healthy and he’s a big talent.

“He’s also a lot quicker than when I first came here two years ago. Hopefully, he’ll go forward and will be leading the Surrey attack in a couple of years’ time.

“Having Azhar Mahmood [the former Pakistan and Surrey all-rounder] here as bowling coach is another real boost to me and all the other bowlers.

“He understands cricket in England and, with me, the most important message has been not to waste the first 20 balls or so.

“It is fantastic to be part of a set-up like this and we are working consistently.

“Alec Stewart has done a fantastic job running a good programme and I can see the improvement in these guys.

“I see the future at Surrey being very bright.

“Hopefully, one day, I will be able to go a whole season.

“But, for the time being it’s a case of being here at the start and at the finish.

“I’m always available for Surrey. As I say, I love it here. It’s like my second home. So, whenever I get the call, I make myself available.”

Surrey’s match against Northants starts on September 19.


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