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New sensation Shamar Joseph named in West Indies T20 World Cup squad

Bridgetown (Barbados) (AFP) – Shamar Joseph, who made a stunning start to his Test career against Australia earlier this year, was named on Friday in the West Indies 15-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup which takes place in the Caribbean and United States.

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Pace bowler Joseph, a former security guard, has yet to play a T20 international but burst on to the scene in sensational fashion when he removed Steve Smith with his first ball in Test cricket in January.

He went on to take 13 wickets in two Tests against the Australians including a remarkable 7-68 to bowl West Indies to an unexpected victory in Brisbane.

“The situation of someone like Shamar Joseph, you really can’t question someone like him, we saw him in Australia. He ticked the boxes for us,” said Desmond Haynes, director of West Indies Cricket.

Still just 24, Joseph has only played three first-class T20 matches, his most recent for the Lucknow Super Giants against Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League last month when his four overs disappeared for 47 runs.

There is no place in the squad, however for Sunil Narine, who was playing for Kolkata in that match.

The 35-year-old all-rounder, who has been in great form in the IPL, announced his international retirement in 2023, four years after he last played a T20 for the West Indies, and has resisted all solicitations to return to the fray.

Shimron Hetmyer returns to the squad, which is skippered by Rovman Powell, after missing the T20I series against Australia.

He has been in good nick in the ongoing IPL with the Rajasthan Royals, scoring 83 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 184.44 while playing the finisher’s role.

Hetmyer was axed from the squad for the last T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022 after missing his flight.

Kyle Mayers, who was part of the squad during the Australia series, was omitted as the West Indies opted for a lower-order batsman over an opener.

“We had a very long discussion with the situation of the batting line-up,” said Haynes.

“It was some very close decisions, regarding the selection of Kyle Mayers and Shimron Hetmyer – but we looked at who we wanted as the extra batter batting down the order.”

The Windies boast a plethora of big hitters and all-rounders, including Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Hetmyer, Powell, Jason Holder, Sherfane Rutherford and Romario Shepherd.

With pace bowler Oshane Thomas left out of the squad, the bowling attack will be led by vice-captain Alzarri Joseph with the support of Shamar Joseph.

Akeal Hossain and Gudakesh Motie form the spin-bowling department.

Part of Group C alongside Afghanistan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, the two-time champions kick off their campaign on June 2 against PNG in Guyana.

Squad: Rovman Powell (captain), Alzarri Joseph, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Shamar Joseph, Brandon King, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd