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Teenage fast bowler in WI Test squad


MIKE KING, [email protected]

Teenage fast bowler in WI Test squad

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HAVING BEEN BADLY beaten in four days in the opening Test, West Indies selectors have quite rightly decided to fast-track exciting 19-year-old fast bowler Alzarri Joseph into the Test squad for the second match slated to start on Saturday at Sabina Park.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced yesterday that the 19-year-old Antiguan had been added to the squad for the second Test.

Joseph had been expected to make his Test debut in the opening Test before his home fans at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground. In that match, which the West Indies endured an innings and 92 runs defeat, the home team played just four bowlers and failed to bowl out India.

Far and away the most exciting fast bowling prospect in the Caribbean, Joseph was one of the stars of the West Indies’ historic triumph at the ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in February. He captured 13 wickets, which included a haul of three for 39 in the final against India.

The 6 ft 4 in pacer was clocked delivering the fastest ball in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at 91.5 mph and consistently hovered around the high 80s-90mph.

“We feel that Alzarri, who led the attack so expertly in the ICC Youth World Cup earlier this year in Bangladesh, will now benefit from the professional guidance of our coaching staff and the presence of fast bowling legend Joel Garner as manager,” said Courtney Browne, chairman of the West Indies selection panel.

“As we develop our Test team, we see this as a positive step in the process. We would like to wish the team every success for the rest of the series.”

Joseph made his mark for Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the first-class Professional Cricket League, before the ICC Under-19 World Cup. He grabbed seven wickets for 76 runs against Windward Islands at Windsor Park in Dominica last November.

Joseph has been playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Batting

It is unsure as to who will open the batting with Kraigg Brathwaite in Jamaica as his partner Rajendra Chandrika is almost certain to lose his place after his continued run of failures. After four matches, he averages a sub par 16.75.

Jamaican Jermaine Blackwood is very unlikely to play before his home fans after bagging a pair in Antigua. In his last seven innings, he has four ducks and his average has nosedived to 30.

Sabina Park traditonally favours fast bowlers and the West Indies could go into the match with a four-prong pace attack comprising Joseph, Shannon Gabriel, Miguel Cummins and skipper Jason Holder with Carlos Brathwaite playing as a batsman. Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo could lose his place.

The squad is: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite (vice captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, Leon Johnson and Marlon Samuels. (MK)

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