Former West Indies pace bowling great Andy Roberts believes the current generation of fast bowlers are more focused on their line and lengths instead of bowling fast. In his playing days, Roberts was an integral part of the iconic pace quartet from the West Indies’ in both Tests and ODIs.
“To me, it is not as encouraging as it was 15-20 years ago. Even after the greats have finished, we still had some youngsters, who were coming through. The seamers, I don’t know if it is the advent of T20 cricket that is not allowing bowlers to try and bowl as fast as they can. People are more focused on line and length these days instead of real fast bowling,” said Roberts to former Ireland captain Niall O’ Brien on the sidelines of the Men’s U19 World Cup quarter-final clash between India and Bangladesh.
Roberts, a member of the West Indies’ World Cup winning team in 1975 and 1979, is still excited by the sight of anyone bowling fast. “Anybody, who runs and bowls fast is what I like and who I like because you can transform from a good fast bowler to a good swing bowler or a good medium pace bowler. But you can’t go from being a medium pacer to a fast bowler. It takes a lot out of you to do that.”
Roberts, the first Test cricketer from Antigua, revealed his inspirations behind being a fast bowler and a Test cricketer from the island. “It was a good sign to see, especially coming from here. There were better fast bowlers than myself from Antigua in the 1960s and early 70s. Antigua is known to produce better fast bowlers because you had Lester Bird and Hubert Anthonyson, these are names who are not well known but for our generations back then in the Antigua circuit, they were inspirations and know these names.”
Roberts, who turned 71 on Saturday, was sad at West Indies’ not featuring in the main stage of the ongoing U19 World Cup. “I have a great passion for the game and especially West Indies cricket. So to me, it is very sad to see that the West Indies are not taking part in the final stage of the U-19 competition.”