Sunday, October 2, 2022

CWI: CPL player watch – Roston chases his T20 dreams

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Roston Lamar Chase is a 28-year old West Indies batting All-Rounder hailing from Barbados. His batting style is typically unruffled and free-flowing while his off spin bowling is as dangerous as it is effective.

So far, Roston has scored five Test centuries and ten international half centuries for the West Indies and shows no signs of slowing down. As a matter of fact, he’s only getting started.

This year, Chase made his CPL debut as a replacement for the St. Lucia Zouks team, led by former West Indies Captain, Daren Sammy.

Destined for the Cricket Field

Chase believes he was born to be on the cricket field and it all started with a serendipitous encounter as a toddler.

Speaking to CWI on the Maroon Hangout back in May, Roston reflected on that destiny-revealing moment:

“At 2 years old, my father would take me for walks in the park and I’ll start crying. But he realized every time he took me to the cricket field, I’d always stop. So that’s where he would take me for walks on evenings…to the cricket field.”

And that’s where Roston’s uncanny connection to cricket began. With his father’s desperation to appease a cranky, crying, Baby Roston.

As Chase got older and took his own walks to the cricket field, he began to idolize West Indies greats, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Sarwan, though, was his hero. And as fate would have it, or perhaps more upon young Roston’s request, he would meet Sarwan at home in Barbados. To this day, Chase still cherishes that encounter with his childhood hero.

As time went on and Roston’s skills became more apparent, it was obvious that the cricket field was indeed where he belonged. And he worked tirelessly to get there.

“I couldn’t imagine being anything other than a cricketer for the West Indies”.

The Call Up: A Childhood Dream Comes True

In July 2016 at 24 years old, Roston Chase made his maiden appearance for the West Indies at the home series against India in Antigua.

Debuting against India is an honour for any aspiring cricketer but Chase’ “pride and joy” was being able to don the Maroon colours. It didn’t matter who he’d be playing against. His dream was about to come true.

“I was just happy to play for the West Indies. When I got the call from the Chairman of Selectors, it was an amazing feeling to know that my childhood dream was really happening.

I received my cap from Sir Vivian Richards who was a mentor to me back in 2015 and we really had a good relationship going. It was touching and I really thought he was the best person to give me my cap”.

It wasn’t long after that Roston Chase smashed his first Test century. But not without a challenge from West Indies veteran, Marlon Samuels, following the first Test match where India won by an innings and 92 runs.

Samuels motivated Chase to step up to the crease and contribute to the team’s runs after a modest performance in the first Test match. Being a “newbie” was no excuse for Chase, according to Samuels.

Chase took what Samuels said to heart and approached the second Test match with an unshakable resolve. He would go on to score an unbeaten 137 runs and contribute impressively with the ball to secure his first 5-wicket haul and help his team draw the match.

Playing against cricket greats such as Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, Chase walked away with the Man of the Match award in just his second match for the West Indies.

“It really only hit me after the game. I received so many messages, it was quite heartwarming. I also felt like I accomplished some respect from the senior guys on the team”.

Almost one year later in June 2017, Chase made his ODI debut for the West Indies vs Afghanistan in St. Lucia. His figures in the shorter format of the match, while substantial, aren’t as favourable as his Test stats.

One would imagine that the 6-foot tall all-rounder perhaps favours the longer and purer format of the game.

A surprise appearance at CPL 2020

Chase was not originally named in the line up for the St. Lucia Zouks this year. Up until July, Roston’s sole involvement in CPL was to cheer on his fellow teammates from his home in Barbados.

But mere weeks before the start of the tournament, Chase was called upon to replace Jonathan Wells from Australia.

And Chase, like the year 2020, came full of surprises.

In his first three matches played to date, Chase is currently ranked second in the Most Runs category after West Indies teammate, Shimron Hetmyer. His contribution with the ball has also been solid; securing five key wickets at critical moments for his St. Lucia Zouks team.

This time around, Chase didn’t need a motivational speech from Marlon Samuels to get going.

Where does Roston go from here?

It was only a month ago that Chase won the West Indies Player of the Series Award at the historic series vs England in July 2020.

Following his showing in England, it would be difficult to doubt his place as a true All-Rounder in the West Indies Test line up.

But will Roston now chase his place in the T20I format for the West Indies?

He’s certainly one to watch in the 2020 edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League.

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