“We have match-winners” – West Indies eye big role for uncapped Shamar Joseph at World Cup

Uncapped Guyanese fast bowler Shamar Joseph has been selected in the West Indies’ 15-man team for the June 1-29 International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty/20 World Cup which is being co-hosted by the West Indies and the US.

Lead selector Desmond Haynes said it was a “very close decision regarding the selection between Kyle Mayers and (Hetmyer),” and he believes the Guyanese left-hander can add value to the batting order in a “finishing role.”

Despite his limited T20 experience, Shamar has been included, and both Sammy and Haynes are hoping the 24-year-old quick can replicate his exploits from the Caribbean team’s Test tour to Australia in January.

Shamar made the most thrilling of entrances on the international circuit when he finished as the Player of the Series in the two-match Test series against the Aussies.

After claiming a five-for in his first Test, Shamar delivered a magical spell of seven for 68 in the second Test to bowl the Caribbean team to a dramatic eight-run win at the Gabba in Brisbane in a pink-ball affair.

Scooped up by the Lucknow Super Giants for the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, Shamar was given a rough initiation at the tournament when he conceded 47 runs in his four-over spell against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Garden, Kolkata last month. In addition to his lone outing with Lucknow, he featured in two matches toward the back end of the 2023 Caribbean Premier League with eventual champions Guyana Amazon Warriors to mark his debut in the competition.

Both Sammy and Haynes spoke to Shamar’s value with the new ball.

“When Sammy came in, we looked at roles we wanted people to play. You really can’t question Shamar Joseph’s skills – you saw him in Australia,” Haynes said, during a press conference in Bridgetown, Barbados. “We were looking at someone who can bowl in the first power play and I think he ticked the boxes for us.”

Shamar aside, the selectors believe they have picked the most suitable team to earn West Indies a third T20 World Cup title. The Windies are grouped alongside Afghanistan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and newcomers Uganda, and Sammy’s troops will be aiming to become the first host nation to land the T20 crown on home soil.

“We believe we are ready as a West Indies team to take on the challenges of winning the World Cup right here in the Caribbean. We believe this squad is going to win us the World Cup,” Sammy said.

The regional team will begin their campaign with matches against PNG and Uganda in Guyana on June 2 and 8 respectively. The hosts will then face New Zealand at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad on June 12 before ending the group stage with a meeting with Afghanistan on June 17 in St Lucia.

“If you look at the squad, I have 15 X Factors,” Sammy said. “We have match-winners and the world knows it. It’s about us taking it one game at a time and believing in our preparation and trusting our execution.”

West Indies were eliminated at the group stage of the 2021 T20 World Cup, and were ousted at the qualifying stage at the 2022 edition.

Sammy says his team has the chance to right those wrongs and repeat the heroics of 2012 and 2016.

“The last time I wore the maroon colours it was lifting up this trophy as a player, so obviously it’s inspirational,” he said.

“Looking at the guys, the way they have played over the last year with captain Rovman Powell, I see a lot of myself as a leader in him as well.”

No reserves have been named just yet for the Windies team, and Haynes and Sammy said they will be monitoring the performances of players on the ongoing ‘A’ team tour to Nepal and the subsequent T20 series versus South Africa from May 22-26 before coming to a conclusion.

Haynes said, “West Indies have the right to change their team up until May 25. It’s important for us to look at the reserves who will be playing in those games.”

The team will commence their preparatory camp in Antigua next weekend, although it is likely to start without players who are currently campaigning in the IPL.

The Windies coach called on supporters to get behind the team.

“What I always ask my Caribbean and West Indian fans to do is to come and rally. We’re home and we’re ready. Now, my job is to make sure my men are ready to deliver.”

Leave a Comment