Yesterday, the Aussies' hopes of a series win were dashed by a certain 24-year-old, Shamar Joseph. Joseph has already made a mark in international cricket during the first Test where he picked up a wicket off his very first delivery. He also contributed a half-century to help his side show some fight. However, he reserved his best for the Gabbatoir which until a few years back, was Australia's fortress.
He picked up 7 wickets while conceding just 68 runs to help the West Indies bowl Australia out for 207, 9 short of the target. His performance earned him high praise from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, AB de Villiers and several other legends of the game. However what stands out is his journey, one of determination and perseverance.
Born and raised amidst a mere 350 souls, his reality was far removed from the hum of connectivity that defines most lives today. Baracaca, his village, a two-day boat journey from the nearest town of New Amsterdam, existed in a realm untouched by the internet or telecom. Neither did he have access to academies or equipment. He used to play cricket with fruits and tape balls until just a few years back and worked as a security guard, to support his family.
The role of Romario Shepherd
However, his talent wouldn't stay hidden forever. A fellow West Indian cricketer, Romario Shepherd, spotted the raw gem and got him a chance with the team that he himself used to represent. Once unleashed, Shamar exploded. He excelled in both red-ball and white-ball cricket, tearing through batting lineups and sending scores soaring. This rapid rise soon reached the eyes of the national selectors, and he found himself picked for the prestigious Australia Tests.
Joseph's meteoric rise is a story for the ages and one can only imagine the impact that he will have now that he has access to facilities and high-quality coaches. Cricket in the West Indies hasn't flourished of late but in Joseph, they have a young and talented cricketer who can be at the core of their plans for a long time.