Is Roston Chase the replacement of Marlon Samuels?

The defending champions West Indies are all set to feature in the seventh edition of the ICC World T20, commencing on October 17th. The men in maroon will carry the pressure of retaining the title for the consecutive time but something they’ll be surely missing, is the heroics of Marlon Samuels; the architect of both T20 World Cup wins. Roston Chase, who bowls off-spin, and bats in the middle-order, and has made his way into the national squad following a spectacular CPL season can fill the gulf created by Samuel’s absence.

Handy with the bat, crafty with the ball 

No international T20 experience under his belt makes Roston Chase’s inclusion into the squad seem absurd but it was an exceptional CPL season that earned him a place in this mega event. With an average, just a shade under 50, and a strike rate of 144, Chase topped the CPL batting charts and made an impression in the eyes of selectors. The Barbados-born all-rounder was also handy with the ball and took 12 wickets in the season with an economy of 6.92. 

Roston Chase
Roston Chase was the Player of the Tournament in CPL

Is Roston Chase the Replacement of Samuels?

The question of whether Chase can match the level of Marlon Samuels with his all-around performance in this T20 World Cup remains unanswered. For the player who is yet to make his T20I debut, it’s too early to compare with a two-time WC winner. In contrast, in other formats, Chase has shown his ability to make the impossible seem possible. 

Marlon Samuels
Marlon Samuels was twice the Player of the Final in both West Indies’ title-winning campaigns

Slotted in at number six for WI’s home series against India in 2016, Roston Chase didn’t take long to show his class. In the Kingston test, he finished with his spectacular bowling figures of 5 for 121, and an unbeaten 137 and lead his side to an improbable draw. History almost repeated itself in 2017 vs Pakistan in the 3rd test but this time, he was left stranded as his partner Shannon Gabriel played a reckless shot with his century going in vain. 

A genuine all-rounder in the  20-over format?

Roston Chase, unlike many West Indian batsmen, might lack the flair and firepower but the thing he brings to the side is stability with the bat and an extra option with the ball. The 27-year-old Barbadian, since his debut has got some astonishing feats under his belt where he single-handedly performed with both bat and ball to clinch wins for his side. 

Playing for the St Lucia Kings at the CPL, Chase was utterly dominant in the King’s middle order, striking four fifties and ending up as the leading run-scorer in the entire tournament. The West Indies won’t mind if he gives the same input with the maroon jersey on.

A Promising domestic T20 record

His overall T20 records aren’t mediocre either. A strike rate of 130, and an average of 44, speak for the talent he possesses. To win T20 matches, you need to be a miser with the ball, something Roston Chase is good at. The right-arm bowler bowls with an economy rate of 6.23 in the shortest format and someone with such a miserly economy rate is a captain’s dream to have in the final eleven. 

What can West Indies extract from Chase?

The Windies squad has all the firepower that other teams envy to have but Roston Chase is someone who can be the savior on a bad day, someone who can prevent his side from crumbling against a strong spin onslaught from the opposition, someone who with the ball in hand Keiron Pollard can switch to without the fear of leaking runs. 

Chase might be new to this format but not to challenges. He has got the mettle to play against the odds and if given adequate chances and confidence, he can be someone who can make his team rely on.

The game of cricket has witnessed many underdogs turning heroes in their maiden tournaments and by selecting the inexperienced yet promising Roston, the selectors have shown their faith in Chase, now it’s up to him whether he can tackle the challenges or not!

Written by Abdul Manan

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