West Indies is a land of surprises. In the West Indies cricket, there are so many hidden talents. Shamar Joseph is one of them. He has struggled a lot and achieved global exposure. Against Australia, he bowled exceptionally well. After that, the cricket world came to know his struggle. From just a normal citizen to representing the West Indies at the highest level, Joseph’s story never fails to disappoint cricket enthusiasts.
Born on August 31, 1999, Shamar Joseph is a cricketer hailing from Guyana. He represents Guyana in first-class cricket and proudly dons the West Indies jersey in international cricket as a right-arm fast bowler. Shamar marked his international debut for the West Indies in January 2024, making an impactful entry against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. Before venturing into his professional cricket journey, he worked as a security guard, showcasing his dedication and diverse experiences.
Hailing from Baracara, a small community in East Berbice-Corentyne, Guyana, Shamar Joseph’s roots are deeply embedded in a place about 225 km up the Canje River. This quaint locale is approximately a two-day boat journey from the port city of New Amsterdam. Joseph’s upbringing was characterized by limited access to internet facilities or telephone connections, highlighting the simplicity and remoteness of his early environment.
In his formative years, Shamar Joseph found inspiration in the legendary West Indies opening bowlers, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. Growing up in Baracara, he admired their skills by watching highlights and emulating them in tapeball games within his village. Joseph’s early cricket endeavors involved unconventional equipment, using fruits like lemons, limes, guavas, and peaches, along with a tape ball.
This unique form of cricket, known locally as “jungle-land cricket,” became a staple in Baracara. Not limited by resources, Joseph also honed his skills using makeshift balls crafted from melted plastic bottles, showcasing his passion and resourcefulness in pursuit of his cricketing dreams.
Before pursuing cricket professionally, Joseph contributed to his family’s livelihood by working alongside his siblings and father in the logging industry. Their tasks involved felling and chopping logs in Baracara, and then transporting the timber downstream along the Canje River to New Amsterdam.
However, a close call with a falling tree prompted Joseph to reconsider his career path. Concerned for his safety, he decided to leave Baracara and seek employment in New Amsterdam to provide for his family.
Romario Shepherd played a pivotal role in Shamar Joseph’s cricketing journey, providing him with his initial opportunity in the sport. Thanks to Shepherd’s introduction, Joseph connected with Esuan Crandon, the head coach of the Guyana cricket team, as well as with senior players like Leon Johnson, the team captain at the time. Additionally, former Guyanese cricketer turned businessman, Damion Vantull, encouraged Joseph to pursue cricket instead of continuing his job as a security guard.
Joseph’s talent quickly became apparent as he made a memorable debut in Division 1 cricket, claiming figures of 6/13. Attending a fast bowling clinic conducted by Curtly Ambrose in Berbice further honed his skills. His exceptional performance, including taking eight wickets in a trial game, caught the attention of selectors, earning him a call-up to first-class cricket.
Alongside his progression in the professional circuit, Joseph also showcased his abilities in club cricket, representing the Muslim Youth Organisation (MYO) Sports Club in Georgetown.
Shamar Joseph’s journey in first-class cricket began with a noteworthy start. Initially named among the uncapped players for the 55th edition of the Regional Four Day Competition by the Guyana Harpy Eagles, Joseph hadn’t represented Guyana at any level before this call-up.
His debut in first-class cricket occurred on February 1, 2023, against Barbados in the 2022–23 West Indies Championship. Making an impact early on, Joseph achieved his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket against the Windward Islands during the same championship. Bowling 12 overs, he concluded the spell with figures of 5/41, marking a significant milestone in his budding cricket career.
In December 2023, Shamar Joseph’s cricketing journey reached new heights when he was selected as one of the seven uncapped players in the West Indies test squad for the Australia tour as part of the 2023–2025 ICC World Test Championship. Making his mark at the Karen Rolton Oval against the Cricket Australia XI side, Joseph’s impressive bowling spells secured him a spot in the first test match against Australia.
His test debut at the Adelaide Oval on January 17, 2024, was memorable as he claimed a wicket off the very first delivery, dismissing Australian opener Steve Smith for 12 runs. Joseph continued to shine, achieving his first five-wicket haul in test cricket on debut. This accomplishment made him the tenth West Indies cricketer to achieve such a feat.
In his second test match against Australia on January 28, 2024, Joseph’s exceptional performance stood out as he picked up eight wickets. His second-innings spell of 7/68 in 11.5 overs played a crucial role in the West Indies securing a thrilling test win by a margin of eight runs. Joseph’s remarkable efforts spearheaded the West Indies’ bowling performance, marking their first test win in Australia in 27 years.
Shamar Joseph’s cricket journey took a turn when the Guyana Amazon Warriors enlisted him as a net bowler for the 2023 Caribbean Premier League (CPL). His entry into the 2023 squad as an injury replacement for Keemo Paul marked a pivotal moment. Meeting Prasanna Agoram, the talent scout for the team during his maiden CPL stint, became a turning point as Agoram urged Joseph to take his cricket career seriously.
Joseph’s T20 debut against Barbados Royals in September 2023 showcased his promising talent. Despite playing only two matches, he played a key role in the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ victory in the 2023 CPL. Known for consistently delivering short-pitched deliveries at speeds exceeding 140 kph, Joseph left a lasting impression.
His List A debut for Guyana in the 2023–24 Super50 Cup against Barbados in October 2023 further highlighted his growing prowess. A last-minute inclusion in Guyana’s squad for the 2023-24 CG Insurance Super50 Cup as an injury replacement for Ronsford Beaton demonstrated his increasing significance.
Peshawar Zalmi recognized Joseph’s potential, selecting him during the 2024 Pakistan Super League players’ draft as a partial replacement for Gus Atkinson. This series of opportunities and successes have propelled Shamar Joseph into the limelight, establishing him as a rising cricket talent.
Achievements and Awards:
On his Test debut, Shamar Joseph, batting at number 11, displayed remarkable prowess by scoring 36 runs off 41 deliveries during the first innings against Australia. Notably, he formed a crucial last-wicket partnership of 55 runs with Kemar Roach, contributing to the West Indies total of 188. Joseph’s innings marked the highest individual score by a West Indian number 11 batsman on debut.
Adding to his impactful debut, he made an immediate impact with the ball, dismissing Australian opener Steve Smith for 12 runs on the very first delivery he bowled in Test cricket. On January 18, 2024, he achieved a significant milestone by taking his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket on debut, becoming the tenth West Indies cricketer to do so.
In a historic feat, Joseph joined Nathan Lyon as the only bowler in Test cricket history to claim a wicket off the first ball in their Test career and take a five-wicket haul on debut in the maiden innings. Additionally, he became the first West Indies player to achieve the unique distinction of scoring over 50 runs and taking a five-wicket haul on Test debut. Shamar Joseph’s debut showcased his exceptional all-around skills, leaving an indelible mark in cricket history.
In the Test format, Shamar Joseph has played two matches, bowling a total of 267 deliveries and claiming 13 wickets, with his best bowling figures being 7/68 in an innings and 8/124 in a match. His average stands at 17.30, and he maintains an economy rate of 5.05. In First-Class cricket, across seven matches, he has taken 34 wickets, with an impressive best of 7/68 in an innings and 8/124 in a match. Joseph’s average in this format is 20.08, and he sustains an economy rate of 3.89. Additionally, in List A cricket, he has participated in two matches, securing two wickets and maintaining an average of 39.50, with an economy rate of 7.90.
In Tests, Shamar Joseph has played two matches, batting in four innings. He scored a total of 57 runs with a highest score of 36, averaging 28.50. In First-Class cricket, across seven matches, he batted 14 times, accumulating 122 runs at an average of 11.09. In List A cricket, participating in two matches, Joseph scored a total of 5 runs in two innings, maintaining an average of 5.00. In T20s, he played two matches and batted once, scoring no runs. His highest score in this format is 0*, and he remains unbeaten.