'I know what I can do': Chase focused on delivering goods for Windies, not critics

By May 24, 2024
CHASE...at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion. CHASE...at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion. Contributed

It is no secret that many across the region believe Roston Chase is not quality enough to have been selected in West Indies’ 15-man squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. But Chase could care less about those critics, as he is more focused on delivering the goods leading up to, and during the June 1-29 global showpiece.

Despite lacking the power of his big-hitting counterparts, Chase has proven that he can be effective in the game’s shortest format. Since his debut at the 2021 World Cup, he has so far played 12 T20Is for West Indies and has tallied 143 runs with a strike rate of 110.0, with 10 wickets for 212 runs to his name.

The 32-year-old, who recently captained Windies 'A' team to a 3-2 series victory away to Nepal, and is currently serving as vice-captain to stand-in captain Brandon King for the regional side’s three-match warm-up series against South Africa, is confident in his abilities, regardless of what others think.

“People may not necessarily know the intricate details that go into playing a cricket match. I'm not one of the big superstars that may hit the ball 100 metres or bowl at 90 miles per hour or take a five-wicket haul or anything like that, but I think I still play a key and vital role in the team,” Chase said in a Cricket West Indies (CWI) interview.

“So people just tend to see me chipping in here and they say, 'Chase ain't no good.' But I know what I can do, my teammates know what I can do, and the coaches know what I can do. But at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion,” he added.

With 49 Test matches to his name, Chase’s credentials in that format speaks for themselves, as he been a steady middle-order batsman since his 2016 debut. He is one of only four West Indian, after Denis Atkinson, Collie Smith and Garry Sobers, to take a five-wicket haul and score a hundred in a Test –a feat he achieved in his second Test, at Sabina Park.

The Barbadian rose to prominence in T20s during the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, when he finished as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a tally of 446 runs and 10 wickets. He also assisted St Lucia Kings to the final –their second in CPL history –in that 2021 season.

That performance resulted in his inclusion for the 2021 T20 World Cup, where he played the last three matches in West Indies' failed campaign as they were eliminated at the group stage. He next featured for the Windies in a 3-0 series loss away to India in February 2022, before being discarded from the T20 setup for just over a year.

Now back in the team, Chase is determined to prove his worth, with both bat and ball, and his performance in Thursday’s opening warm-up contest against South Africa, underscored that much.

The right-hander, who bowls off spin, played an anchor role in West Indies innings and scored an unbeaten 30-ball 32, before returning to take one wicket for 12 runs from two overs, in the 28-run win at Sabina Park.

"I know that I don't have a lot of variations, so I just try to think as quickly as I can on my feet and I try to be as smart as I can, especially with the ball. I know my role is kind of the power-play bowler, so I think that's probably one of the hardest jobs outside of death bowling," Chase shared.

"You have to want to bowl in the power play. It's a tough job, but I always try to go into it with a clear mind and strong belief,” he noted.

With the World Cup now exactly one week away, Chase pointed out that West Indies –who will co-host with the United States –need to fine tune their all-around approach against the Proteas.

The second and third encounters are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, also in Kingston. West Indies, who won T20 titles in 2012 and 2016, will open their World Cup account against Papua New Guinea, on June 2, in Guyana.

“I think this is a time for us to just get our tactics and strategies right and get the guys gelling," Chase declared.

“Obviously, the areas we have been weak in over the past couple of series, in terms of controlling the power play in the bowling aspect – I think that's one area, once we tend to do well in the game, we usually come out on top,” he ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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