The Unbelievable Impact of Finding Shamar Joseph

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Shamar Joseph’s Remarkable Rise to International Cricket

Former England cricketer Roland Butcher, who was a West Indies selector until this year, recently recounted the excitement he felt watching a young Shamar Joseph bowl. Butcher was present at pivotal moments of Joseph’s meteoric rise, which culminated in the global headlines made by Joseph’s performance at the Gabba. Joseph’s 7 for 68 at the Gabba propelled West Indies to a famous eight-run victory despite Joseph playing through an injured toe.

One year prior at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Butcher knew right away that Joseph was a special talent. He immediately shared his thoughts with fellow selector Desmond Haynes, sparking the process that eventually led to Joseph’s rapid ascension.

Butcher was impressed by Joseph’s athletic ability, despite his smaller stature, and knew the young bowler had extraordinary potential. He acknowledged that taking a chance on Joseph’s talent was a calculated risk, but it paid off spectacularly at the Gabba. Butcher emphasized that Australia was the perfect place for Joseph to play, particularly due to the country’s favorable pitches for fast bowling.

Butcher and Joseph had first crossed paths two years ago at a cricket clinic in Berbice, Guyana, and their conversation left an impression on Butcher. During the Super50 tournament in Trinidad, Joseph approached Butcher about pursuing a serious career in cricket, proving that he had taken Butcher’s advice to heart.

Although Butcher’s term as selector has ended, he maintained regular contact with Joseph throughout the Australia tour, offering advice about bowling in different conditions and fostering Joseph’s development as a player.

Watching Joseph’s match-winning performance at the Gabba, Butcher marveled at his ability to challenge Australia’s batters and maintain his pace with the pink ball as the match wore on. Butcher expressed incredulity at the impact Joseph has made, describing him as an unbelievable athlete with a remarkable background of determination and perseverance. He also stressed the importance of good guidance and support for Joseph as he navigates his new status as a rising star in international cricket.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo.

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