When you look at the present day Roston Chase, whose last few scores in international cricket are 2, 1, 0 and 9- you can’t help but imagine a scenario. A weird one at that.
It’s the sight of the Barbadian holding onto a thin rope that’s becoming thinner in an desperate attempt to flee a building up in smokes making painful strides to another that has medical help.
Though in honesty, the site of Chase in crisis is no figurine placed in an act of misadventure; it’s the reality of a career that began as a puma out on a prowl, but one that today looks like a harmless ferret being hounded.
The big question, however is, can the Roston Chase attempting to escape the building make it in time to save what is essentially a Test career needing urgent refurbishing?
Okay, let’s play the beat in C minor and mellow down a bit.
It’s not that Roston Chase is doing nothing with his cricket. His handy off-spinners that may lack massive variations but possess the bite on slower surfaces are doing him a world of good.
They are, in the very least, suggesting that Chase still has his famous slow turning ones that even enabled him to pick a captivating 8-for in Tests (an 8 for 60). That he’s among the wickets on this ongoing Sri Lanka is good news. It adds to Windies’ bowling depth.
But it’s runs, rather the absence of many scored consistently that point to the problem.
A classic case of shopping rendered incomplete; not because the shops were shut but largely because the buyer had no money and little desire to shop.
So in Roston Chase’s world – what’s the problem exactly like?
Surely, he’s got a bat.
Maybe it’s what he can do with it but hasn’t for quite some time that makes the issue rusty, unforgivingly painful and yet, mired with a tease that “what if” he were scoring aplenty.
On December 1, 2021 when all he had to do with Shai Hope well settled at the other end, Roston Chase presented mediocrity, at best.
Not only did he attempt a loose shot on a spinner but at a a time where his priority should’ve been to stick and defend, the batsman gave in.
The spinners of Sri Lanka, all worthy of medals and standing applauses, whether Mendis or Embuldeniya, let it be known gracefully, are no Warne, certainly not Kumble and not a patch of Murali.
Just imagine where this unprepared-to-excel against spin Windies batting would’ve been had those coming hard at them been a Warne or Murali?
What the Windies batting lot, especially a senior like Roston Chase ought to do, is to apply themselves.
That’s along the lines of what Blackwood and Brathwaite did, good enough to take their first inning stay to a span of 104 overs.
For a side that’s made a despicable and sorry name for itself for being bundled out too cheaply, making the Sri Lankans slog for 624 deliveries was no small feat.
But what was, rather painful, was seeing Roston Chase offer catching practice to the Lankans as if he was assisting their fielding talent and not his own with the bat.
More painful was the realisation that minutes before his ouster from the 22 yards, Roston Chase had succeeded in all but offering a sitter of a chance to Mendis of his own bowling.
This is the same Roston Chase who came between a wailing Windies side and an attacking Pakistani one, much like the rock of Gibraltar, scoring two magnificent Test hundreds back in 2017.
Even today, arguably speaking, the most eye pleasing boundary, one creamed to the cover region came off Chase’s bat. A bat that would go silent soon upon reaching its tenth run.
Sad part being the Roston Chase evident today is the one who looks nothing like the one who crossed his arms creating an X-like pose to bring up a magnificent debut hundred at Jamaica against India.
The brave, “I’ll-carry-on and soldier-on-don’t-you-worry” batman.
The one evident instead is a batter who’s hurting, perhaps somewhere aware on the inside about the massive guilt he has about not trying hard enough for the West Indies.
Not the one who looks even a patch on the bloke who made an enduring 106 in 2018 at Hyderbad in a very very special manner, his first away ton.
What’s worse, however, is that the present day Chase has been sort of tutored into thinking that he’s a Marlon Samuels #2 perhaps by those who know it well that despite his inconsistency, Samuels had zero fear and flair to produce some of his staggering innings.
What Chase has is very little flair but a love for rigour and application both of which, unfortunately, have gone astray.
The last they were seen was a couple of months prior to the T20 World Cup, when he alone made 62 of Windies’ 163 all out against the Proteas.
So happens now? Is he even worthy of being called a natural all rounder, which his credentials have too often supported in the past?
We don’t know. Except for saying that Roston must Chase his glory and rediscover his mojo.
That said, how’s he fared statically in the past 9 months in Tests?
Roston Chase has scored a total of 206 runs from his last 7 Test series’, which have seen him come out to bat on no fewer than 20 occasions. If these stats argue the case for a talent to be considered an all rounder, then one hates to admit the West Indies have lowered the credentials for who they dub an all-rounder.
For unless you are pleasing those who believe in theatrics, or wanting to start a Twitter war against those who do not quite agree that Roston Chase’s numbers make him an all rounder, or are engaging in fanboy speak, then under no circumstances would you call the West Indian an all rounder.
What you can, however, call him is an off spinner who can do both- spin the ball and besides, produce the goods with the bat, perhaps once between two Xmas celebrations or if Santa wants it, then once every Christmas.
For what he’s done in the last two years despite being given a proper Test run is to have scored 304 Test runs from 11 Tests, with a cumulative average of (2 years being) 16.
Can Santa Claus this year, at least, gift him the ability to do justice to his all round potential?
Roston Chase in Tests in 2021
|2021||6||130||14||62 vs SA||1|
Roston Chase versus Sri Lanka in Tests
|vs Sri Lanka||Matches||Runs||Bat Avg||Highest||Fifties|
|5, 8 innings||126||15||41||0|
Roston Chase versus Bangladesh in Tests
|Vs Bangladesh||Matches||Runs||Bat Avg||Highest||Fifties|
|4, 7 innings||88||12||32||0|