West Indies Test hero Shamar Joseph could force his way into the T20 World Cup calculations this year despite not playing in the two limited-overs series against Australia, with coach Daren Sammy admitting he has created a selection headache.
Joseph sent shockwaves around the cricket world last Sunday when he took 7 for 68 to inspire West Indies to a historic Test victory over Australia at the Gabba. That came on the back of a five-wicket haul in his debut Test in Adelaide, which included dismissing Steven Smith with his first ball in Test cricket.
Joseph has only played two T20 matches in his short career, for Guyana Amazon Warriors in last year’s CPL, and is yet to take a wicket in the format. He has also played just two List A games for Guyana in the Super50 Cup.
But Sammy, West Indies’ white-ball coach, was adamant Joseph would be an all-format star for his country and could well be vaulted into T20 World Cup calculations.
“He will definitely be an all-format player,” Sammy said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on him in this squad. But look, everything has a process to it. That’s the way myself and the chairman of selectors operate. What he’s done is he’s created a really good headache for me with the World Cup coming up, building forward in the ODI team.
“We got other guys like Jayden Seales, who’s injured at the moment. So we’re developing a core in all formats that enables us to pick from good positions, guys that are performing and that’s what you want as a cricketing nation.”
Joseph was not initially selected in the white-ball squads for the three-match ODI series that starts at the MCG on Friday and the three-match T20I series that starts next Friday in Hobart.
Shamar Joseph led West Indies to victory in the second Test•Cricket Australia/Getty Images
He was instead set to play in the ILT20 before having to withdraw due to the toe injury he suffered during the Gabba Test. Sammy revealed that there had been conversations about keeping him in Australia and adding him to the limited-overs squads but he was keen to allow him to go home to recover and celebrate with his family.
“We ride the wave that’s happening there, but we won’t go crazy,” Sammy said. “If the guy’s injured, let him go home and rest. That’s probably the first time he’s been away from home for so long. He’s got a young family. So we understand. Whatever we do is well-planned and well-thought-out.
“I think going home to his family, enjoying this moment is important. Because victories like that don’t come around all the time. It’s important that you enjoy these moments. Savour it so that it keeps you motivated to have more moments like that.”
Sammy was hopeful that Joseph’s performance would inspire his inexperienced ODI squad in the three-match series against Australia. “When somebody performs like that the team rises, and it was so good to watch. You see the smile on my face every time you go back to that and I just hope my men – whenever challenges come you can just remember that if you push through, there’s always gold at the end of the rainbow.”
CWI gives Joseph international retainer contract
Meanwhile, Cricket West Indies has upgraded Joseph’s franchise contract to an international retainer contract. After the Gabba Test, Joseph had said: “There will be times when T20 might come around and Test cricket will be there. But I will always be available to play for West Indies no matter how much money comes towards me.”
Chemar Holder, another fast bowler, has been offered a franchise contract as West Indies “double-down on securing the best fast-bowling talent available”. Holder, who has played one Test and one ODI for West Indies, is making a comeback from shoulder surgery. In the recent Super50 Cup, he picked up four wickets in four games.
Important for the board, Guyana govt & cooperate bodies to find a way to allocate funds to compensate Shamar Joseph & 1 or 2 other fast bowlers to keep them in the Caribbean & control how much cricket they play. Their pace is everything. Don’t allow burnout.
— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) January 28, 2024
“As exhilarated as we are, it is also dutiful to elevate Shamar Joseph to a CWI international retainer contract,” Enoch Lewis, CWI director and chair of the cricket development and performance committee, said. “His extraordinary talent and steadfast dedication serve as the cornerstone of our team’s recent triumph at the Gabba, and such promise merits its due recognition. Shamar has not just been rewarded with a retained contract, he has earned it.”
Miles Bascombe, the director of cricket, said: “Shamar’s elevation to a CWI International retainer contract reflects his potential and the bright future ahead for West Indies cricket. We have also offered Chemar Holder a franchise contract as we double-down on securing the best fast-bowling talent available.”
WI’s international retainers for 2023-24: Alick Athanaze, Kraigg Brathwaite, Keacy Carty, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Joshua Da Silva, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Shamar Joseph, Brandon King, Gudakesh Motie, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd