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Feature

The West Indies quicks who could give Australia the hurry-up

There is some firepower in the visiting attack which could keep the batters on their guard

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
27-Nov-2022
Can West Indies' big four give their team a chance in Australia?  •  AFP/Getty Images

Can West Indies' big four give their team a chance in Australia?  •  AFP/Getty Images

There are reasonably low expectations from West Indies in their series against Australia, the first time they have played Tests in the country since 2015-16, but they have a pace attack that could cause the home side some problems, especially if there is some assistance in the wickets at Perth and Adelaide.

Kemar Roach


Matches: 73; Wickets: 252; Average: 26.83
The leader of the attack, Roach is West Indies' sixth-highest Test wicket-taker and could move into the top five during this series - he is currently seven behind Joel Garner. He arguably does not get enough credit for his impressive Test record: since 2017 he has taken 130 wickets at 23.64, averaging an outstanding 19.35 on home soil. His returns against Australia are his poorest overall with an average of 39.92, inflated by a forgettable visit in 2015-16 when he went 0 for 247 from 41 overs across three Tests. However, he has left his mark on Test cricket in this country - or more accurately left his mark on Ricky Ponting - when he forced the Australia captain to retire hurt in 2009. A 146kph delivery thudded into Ponting's elbow at the WACA - just across the river from the new Optus Stadium - and after batting on for 40 minutes Ponting conceded he couldn't continue. At 34, Roach does not have the consistent high pace he once did, but if anything he has become a better bowler.

Alzarri Joseph


Matches: 22; Wickets: 62; Average: 34.93
Joseph could well be the bowler to take Roach's attack-leader role in the years to come. At 26, he should be approaching his peak years. In 2022 he is averaging 25.81 in five Tests although has yet to take a big haul of wickets with his best being 3 for 33. His pace stood out during West Indies' brief stay at the T20 World Cup during the first round in Hobart. Brian Lara has picked him out as one to watch for the series. "I believe Joseph is going to be special and Australia is going to know a lot more about him by the end of the series," he said recently. Joseph has never played a Test in Australia and as with many visiting pace bowlers his challenge will be finding the right length, and especially in Perth not getting carried away should he see the ball fly through. He will have benefitted from a solid workout against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra where he claimed five wickets in 31 overs.

Jason Holder


Matches: 56; Wickets: 142; Average: 28.03
The former captain is one of the finest allrounders to have played the game with a bowling average under 30, a batting average a tick over 30 (including a double century) and hands like buckets in the slips. With the ball he is not express and will likely have more of a holding role to allow the strike bowlers to operate in shorter bursts. But he is a clever bowler, capable of finding seam movement, and his natural length could be ideal for the Australian surfaces. In his three Tests this year he has found wickets harder to come by - four at 59.00 against England, while he opted to miss the series against Bangladesh at home. However, in 2021 he claimed 22 wickets at 22.86. As with Roach, his figures against Australia are not pretty and he managed just two wickets at 93.00 on the 2015-16 visit. Curiously he has yet to bowl on the Test leg of this tour having not been used against the NSW/ACT XI then sitting out the PM's XI match, although he claimed a couple of terrific catches at slip.

Jayden Seales


Matches: 9; Wickets: 36; Average: 21.77
The 21-year-old is part of the next generation with a lot of hopes pinned on him for the future of West Indies' Test cricket. He has made an excellent start with consistent wickets against South Africa, Pakistan, England and Bangladesh since his debut in mid-2021 albeit all nine of his Tests have come on home soil. His early career-best of 5 for 55 came in a Player-of-the-Match performance against Pakistan in Jamaica, where he claimed eight in the game as West Indies edged to a gripping one-wicket victory where he was also at the crease, alongside Roach, when the winning runs came.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo