Australia ‘a steep learning curve’ for Joseph, says former Harpy Eagles captain
Former Guyana Harpy Eagles captain Leon Johnson is not surprised that budding fast-bowling talent Shamar Joseph was called to the West Indies Test squad for the tour to Australia, but believes it will be a challenge to perform ‘Down Under.’
Joseph made his senior national debut under Johnson in the last First-Class season and quickly made headlines with his pace and movement.
From the Caribbean Premier League to List A then West Indies A, his skills and success have made him somewhat of an asset to the weakened West Indies unit for the two-Test tour that commences January 17.
“It will be a steep learning curve; Australia is not easy to play cricket for the best of players. It is an opportunity for him,” Johnson said while speaking recently on Barbados radio programme Mason and Guest.
Johnson said Joseph has impressed in the little cricket he has played thus far, highlighting his debut First-Class season where he got nine wickets in three matches with a best of 5-41.
He was then a temporary injury replacement for Keemo Paul at the backend of the CPL and became a talking point due to his pace, fitness and aggression.
Johnson, his former skipper, was then his manager at the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
The 24-year-old made his List A debut, and followed that by taking the joint-most wickets on the West Indies A tour of South Africa.
In two Four-Day matches, he captured 12 wickets with a best of 5-76, and given the absence of the injured Jayden Seales, his exploits in South Africa further forced his selection.
“I am really happy for him given where he started from, how his career basically started in the last 12 months for Guyana and good to see him in Australia,” Johnson added.
The former Test batsman revealed Joseph had great work ethic and enthusiasm when he first joined the Harpy Eagles camp as a net bowler.
“When he first came, he came as a net bowler [and he could] move the ball both ways, and I even asked if he knew what he was doing, and he knew…he was always willing to learn.”
From Guyana’s perspective, Johnson said it is excellent that five of his former teammates are in the Test squad- the others being Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Gudakesh Motie, Kevin Sinclair and Tevin Imlach.
Their selection, he noted, is a reward for consistent performances and year-round training.
Opting not to give a prediction for the series, he did say, “will be tough, they [Australia] are a quality team [but] once guys can give an account of themselves [it] will do good for their confidence going forward.”
Following the Test series, West Indies will face Australia in three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals, and these squads will be announced later.
TEST SQUAD: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Alzarri Joseph (Vice-Captain), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kirk McKenzie, Alick Athanaze, Kavem Hodge, Justin Greaves, Joshua DaSilva, Akeem Jordan, Gudakesh Motie, Kemar Roach, Kevin Sinclair, Tevin Imlach, Shamar Joseph and Zachary McCaskie.
Match Schedule (start times in brackets)
January 17-21: 1st Test at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
(Start Time: 15-20 January 7:30 pm Eastern Caribbean/6:30 pm Jamaica)
January 25-29: 2nd Test at the Gabba, Brisbane
(Start Time: midnight Eastern Caribbean (24-28 January 11 pm Jamaica)