Who is Shamar Joseph?

From Security Guard to West Indies Cricket Team Star

Who is Shamar Joseph: Hailing from Guyana, Born August 31, 1999, the right-arm fast bowler burst onto the international scene in January 2024 against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. With his very first delivery, he sent the legendary Steve Smith packing, igniting a dream debut that saw him rip through the batting order and collect a staggering five wickets for just 94 runs – the most impressive Test bowling figures for a West Indian debutant on Australian soil. This electrifying performance, achieved after his wcześniejsze days as a security guard, marked the arrival of a genuine cricketing talent on the world stage.

Who is Shamar Joseph

Biography:

Emerging from the remoteness of Baracara, a tiny Guyanese village nestled 225 kilometers up the Canje River, Joseph’s journey to cricketing stardom is as extraordinary as the landscape he hails from. Baracara, with its population of roughly 350, offered little in the way of conventional connectivity. A single black and white television flickered amidst the absence of the internet, and even landlines were a rarity until 2018. Education, too, ended at the primary level, with the nearest secondary school a two-day boat ride away in the port city of New Amsterdam.  Yet, amidst this limited horizon, Joseph’s cricketing dreams took flight, fueled by the boundless enthusiasm and resourcefulness that define his spirit.

Cricket coursed through Joseph’s veins from a young age. Growing up in Baracara, nestled amidst five brothers and three sisters, his heroes weren’t rockstars or astronauts, but the fiery fast bowlers of the West Indies – Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. Their highlights crackled on the village’s lone black and white television, fueling Joseph’s dreams as he mimicked their thunderous deliveries in tape ball games that echoed through the dusty streets. Honing his craft with lemons, guavas, and even melted plastic bottles for balls, this “jungle-land cricket” laid the foundation for his extraordinary talent. Today, a testament to the village’s tight-knit spirit, Joseph finds himself as neighbor to fellow West Indies player, Romario Shepherd, reminding him of the dreams he chased under the Baracaran sky.

Tucber Park Cricket Club offered Joseph his first taste of organized cricket, where he honed his skills in the crucible of first and second-division matches.

This early exposure proved pivotal, paving the way for him to become the first-ever Test cricketer from Baracara, forever etching his name in the village’s history.

Who is Shamar Joseph
Canje-River-Bridge

Early Career:

Before the roar of the crowd replaced the symphony of the rainforest, Joseph’s hands toiled alongside his family in the logging industry of Baracara. Sweat mingled with the scent of damp earth as they felled and chopped logs, transporting their haul down the Canje River’s sinuous path to New Amsterdam. But fate, like a rogue branch, intervened. A near-miss with a falling tree served as a stark reminder of the inherent risks, prompting Joseph to make a life-altering decision. Leaving the familiar embrace of Baracara behind, he set his sights on New Amsterdam, seeking opportunities to support his family and chase a different kind of dream – one fueled by passion and the rhythmic thrum of a cricket ball.

Joseph initially tackled the city’s challenges head-on, laboring in the dust and heat. Yet, the city’s pulse remained distant from his true calling. Next, he donned the uniform of a security guard at Scotiabank, guarding against shadows as the hours stretched into long, 12-hour shifts.  Cricket, his childhood companion, now flickered like a distant ember, squeezed between the demands of duty and the need to support his family. But in the quiet companionship of his fiancée, a flicker of hope rekindled. With her unwavering support, Joseph made a bold decision – to trade the security of his paycheck for the uncertainty of his dreams. He relinquished his guard post, ready to face the world, not as a protector, but as a warrior on the cricketing field, forever indebted to the love that fuelled his leap of faith

Domestic Career:

A serendipitous encounter with fellow Guyanese player Romario Shepherd proved to be the key that unlocked Joseph’s cricketing destiny.  Shepherd paved the way for Joseph’s introduction to the Guyana cricket team, where he struck vital connections. Esuan Crandon, the head coach, recognized his raw talent, while seasoned players like then-captain Leon Johnson offered invaluable guidance. This crucial support network was bolstered by Damion Vantull, a former cricketer turned businessman, who saw the spark in Joseph and encouraged him to take the leap of faith, leaving his security guard job behind.

Who is Shamar Joseph

Joseph’s response was emphatic. His debut in Division 1 cricket was a whirlwind, marked by a stunning 6/13 performance that instantly grabbed everyone’s attention. He further honed his skills under the legendary Curtly Ambrose at a fast bowling clinic in Berbice, imbibing the wisdom of a true pace bowling great.  Finally, an eight-wicket haul in a trial game cemented his potential, earning him a well-deserved call-up to first-class cricket. Joseph’s journey wasn’t solely defined by official teams, as his club cricket stint with the Muslim Youth Organisation (MYO) Sports Club in Georgetown also played a crucial role in shaping his game.

Despite never representing Guyana at any level before, Shamar Joseph’s raw talent caught the eye of the Guyana Harpy Eagles. Thrust into the unfamiliar territory of first-class cricket, he was named as one of four uncapped players for the 55th edition of the Regional Four Day Competition.  This momentous debut came on February 1st, 2023, against Barbados, marking the official start of his journey on the grand stage. Joseph wasted no time in proving his worth. During the same championship, he unleashed his maiden five-wicket haul against the Windward Islands, a spell of sheer dominance that saw him bag 5 wickets for just 41 runs in 12 overs. This electrifying performance, a testament to his exceptional talent and unwavering determination, served as the first of many milestones that would propel him onto the international stage.

Joseph made his electrifying debut against the Barbados Royals on September 17th, 2023. He quickly became a vital cog in the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ machinery, their potent bowling arsenal bolstered by his raw pace and unwavering accuracy. Though his appearances in the 2023 CPL were limited to just two matches, his impact was undeniable. Joseph’s mastery of the short-pitched deliveries, consistently clocking speeds above 140 kph, left batsmen bamboozled and earned him the respect of players and fans alike.

Joseph’s meteoric rise continued in the 50-over format. A last-minute call-up due to an injury, he made his List A debut for Guyana against Barbados in October 2023 during the Super50 Cup, his potent pace sending shivers down batsmen’s spines. This impressive introduction paved the way for his selection in the West Indies A squad for a first-class series against South Africa A in November. Joseph flourished on the South African turf, emerging as the joint leading wicket-taker for the West Indies A alongside Kevin Sinclair, with a stellar haul of 12 scalps. This dominant performance, showcasing his ability to thrive against strong opposition, further solidified his reputation as a rising star destined for even greater heights.

Who is Shamar Joseph
Pat Cummins Receives Signed Jersey From Shamar Joseph After West Indies’ Historic Win

International Career:

The coveted Test arena beckoned in December 2023 as Joseph found himself named among seven uncapped players in the West Indies squad for the tour of Australia, a crucial part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship. This wasn’t merely a selection; it was a testament to his rapid ascent. His impressive bowling spells against the Cricket Australia XI at the Karen Rolton Oval had already caught the eye of the selectors, paving the way for his historic Test debut at the Adelaide Oval on January 17th, 2024, against the formidable Australians. This was no ordinary baptism by fire – it was the beginning of a new chapter in West Indies cricket, with Joseph at the forefront, ready to etch his name in the annals of cricketing history.

Thrust into the unfamiliar role of number 11, he defied expectations with a gritty 36 runs off 41 deliveries. This wasn’t just a valuable contribution; it etched his name in the record books. His resolute knock, culminating in a 55-run last-wicket partnership with Kemar Roach, propelled the West Indies to a potentially match-winning 188. More remarkably, it earned him the distinction of registering the highest individual score by a West Indian number 11 batsman on Test debut – a testament to his all-round talent and fighting spirit. The icing on the cake arrived in the 56th over when he finally unleashed his power, clobbering a Josh Hazlewood delivery for his first-ever six in first-class cricket. Joseph, the unlikely batting hero, had well and truly announced his arrival on the Test stage.

Joseph also took a wicket off the very first delivery he bowled in his test career when he dismissed Australian opener Steve Smith for 12 runs. He also became only the second West Indies bowler to have taken a wicket off the first delivery bowled in test cricket after Tyrell Johnson when he drew Smith to edge it to Justin Greaves.  On 18 January 2024, he took his first five-wicket haul in test cricket by doing so on his test debut and became the tenth cricketer from the West Indies to take a five-wicket haul on test debut. He also became the second bowler in test cricket history after Nathan Lyon to complete the double of having taken a wicket off the first ball in test career and for having taken five wickets on test debut in maiden innings. He also became the first West Indies player to achieve the unique distinction of having scored over 50 runs and to have taken a five-wicket haul on his test debut. Although, West Indies lost the first match by ten wickets, Joseph became a fan favorite for his performances.

Just two Tests into his fledgling career, Joseph etched his name in West Indies cricketing lore. On January 28th, 2024, under the Brisbane sun, he unleashed a fiery spell of 7/68 in 11.5 overs, tearing through the Australian batting order and steering the West Indies to a nail-biting eight-run victory. This wasn’t just a win; it was the culmination of sheer grit and determination. Earlier, a painful toe injury sustained while batting threatened to derail his efforts. But Joseph, true to his name, rose above the physical challenge, spearheading the bowling attack with unwavering passion. His final wicket, the scalp of Josh Hazlewood, sent a wave of ecstatic relief across the West Indies camp, marking their first Test win on Australian soil in 27 years. The feat resonated beyond the field, sparking joy amongst commentators like Ian Bishop, who aptly dubbed him “Joseph the Deliverer.” Fittingly, Joseph’s heroics throughout the series earned him the Player of the Series award, with a remarkable 13 wickets to his name.

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