West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph says he is a better bowler today than the one who faced England in England three years ago.

Joseph had a torrid time of the one Test he played in England during the 2017 Wisden Trophy, toiling for 22 overs without a wicket at a cost of 109 runs.

“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler. That was a big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now so I know now how to bowl in these conditions in my second time around,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, the key to bowling in England is making small adjustments to the increased movement in the ball.

“The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. There are just some slight adjustments. Nothing too big,” the paceman said.

Joseph and the West Indies will be going into the second of their warm-up games ahead of the July 8 start to the battle for the Wisden Trophy.

In his first outing, a three-day encounter earlier this week, Joseph picked up 4-60 as a team captained by Jason Holder drew with another skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite.

Still, Joseph isn’t using the practice games to impress the coach into putting him in the final 11 for the July 8 series start, but rather, is ensuring he is ready if that happens to be the case.

“I see this as an opportunity to get some more overs under my belt, some more time out in the middle to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well, so I am just looking to repeat what I did last game,” he said.

Joseph has had some trouble with injuries in recent times but feels he is fitter and stronger and more able to deal with the rigours of Test cricket.

“I put it down to a lot of hours on the training ground trying to improve my strength and my conditioning. Working on bowling consistently for longer periods,” he said of his recovery.

As far as fitting into a four-pronged pace attack which is expected to give England some trouble, Joseph is banking on the element of surprise.

Obviously those three [Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, JasonHolder] guys have a lot more experience than I do, so more often than not, teams may see me as the weak link,” said Joseph.

“I can use that as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know but once I get in on the day and get the job done I know I can get on top of any opponent.”

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick is confident that the bowling unit’s steady improvement over the past several years means they are now a match for any team in the world.

The Windies are currently preparing for a return to international cricket with the upcoming tour of England, after a globally enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Ahead of the series, the regional team is likely to be encouraged by the fact that it once again has a full complement of first choice strike bowlers. The likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph are all available having recovered from injury.  The regional team’s bowling attack has on occasion shown that they can be a handful for even top batting line-ups.  Against England, in the Caribbean last year, Roach and Holder both claimed four-wicket hauls, with Gabriel and Joseph getting among the wickets as well.  Estwick believes a major difference that has boosted the team's bowling performance in recent years is its level of fitness.

“What we’ve done is to improve our fitness,  now we can sustain pressure,” Estwick said via a news conference.

“If you look back in the 80s, that’s one thing the fast bowlers had, it’s fitness.  Another thing is that they (current players) are now understanding fast bowling.  They have got to that age, Kemar and Shannon they are leading the charge and they are very experienced,” he added.

 “Jason Holder has become a much better Test match bowler in the last two years and Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential.  So were have four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world.”

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have retained or sign seven Caribbean players including Evin Lewis, Fabien Allen and Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the 2020 CPL draft.

Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

West Indies batting legend, Brian Lara sees quite a bit of talent in the Windies squads currently hunting for a resurgence in world cricket but there is still work to be done.

Lara, speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, for instance, believes talented 23-year-old Shimron Hetmyer has personal issues like his fitness that he needs to deal with before he is quite ready to take the world by storm.

“People have challenges in different ways and Hetmyer, obviously, is a very talented cricketer, someone who plays all forms of the game for the West Indies. If he is unfit, he has to see it as a personal challenge. Fitness levels are so very important. So if fitness is his problem, I would like to see him face that challenge himself, and he’ll be a much better cricketer,” said Lara.

Lara though, has much more immediate hopes for others in the West Indies squad like Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran and Alzarri Joseph.

According to the former Windies captain, Pooran understands his role in the team, while the West Indies can find Hope’s stability useful, even in the T20 form of the game, while Joseph is a gamechanger with his ability to take wickets.

“I like Nicholas Pooran, he’s settling down and understanding his responsibilities more now. Shai Hope could play a part in the T20 World Cup, being that solid guy with a great technique that can hold the innings together. Those are the three players I’m really looking forward to seeing. Alzarri Joseph is someone who I look at and say ‘this guy has got potential, he’s a wicket-taker’. He is someone who I’d like to see do well,” said Lara.

Lara, as he has said before, believes the team can learn much from the example of Virat Kohli.

Kohli, he said, has worked hard on his fitness and that, Lara explained, is the perfect lead for Hetmyer to follow.

The Jamaica Scorpions, with a lead of 167 and just four second-innings wickets to get, are on the verge of a big victory against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes heading into the final day of their 2020 West Indies Championship game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua & Barbuda.

Scores in the game so far, the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, 260 and 134-6, against the Jamaica Scorpions, 561-9 declared.

After a first-innings performance with the ball that restricted the Hurricanes to 260, thanks to Marquino Mindley’s 5-65 and Derval Green’s 4-84.

The Scorpions responded brilliantly courtesy of 248 from discarded West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who slammed 248, and by opener John Campbell, who scored his fifth first-class century, this time scoring 112.

Nkrumah Bonner, 48, and Jamie Merchant, 50 not out, played good supporting roles in helping the Scorpions rack up 561.

On Saturday, despite Montcin Hodge’s unbeaten 60, Green’s 2-49, Mindley’s 1-39, and 3-12 from Jamie Merchant, left the Hurricanes struggling at 134, still some 167 runs away from making the Scorpions bat again.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Hurricanes with Alzarri Joseph and Jeremiah Louis yet to bat. Joseph scored 89 in the first innings, while Louis also notched a half century, getting to 75 before he was last man out.

Hayden Walsh Jr is also still at the crease with Hodge on 18.

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie has admitted that the team is distraught after coming up just short against the Windies in a low-scoring thriller at Kensington Oval on Friday.

In the end, pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell smashed a six off the penultimate over of the match to give the hosts a one-wicket win.  However, at several points during the match the Irish seemed on the verge of securing a rare win over the Windies, with the hosts struggling at 3 for 24, 4 for 76 and 7 for 148 before heroics from Khary Pierre, Alzarri Joseph and Cottrell lifted the team to 242 for 9.

Before Cottrell’s heroics, the big pacer only narrowly just avoided being run out at the bowler’s end.  Cottrell was a long way short of his ground when but was given a reprieve after the third umpire determined Mark Adair failed broke the stumps with his hand before the ball actually hit the wicket.

The drama in the final over was not yet over with Cottrell finding himself stranded three-fourth of the way down the pitch after Hayden Walsh failed to take a second run but luckily, the return throw went to the wrong end and Cottrell, despite slipping on his way back, managed to return to the striker's end safely.

“I can’t really fault guys now, they’re all distraught now actually.  We have thrown everything into the game and come up short and that will definitely haunt us today,”  Balbirnie said.

“We’ve lost a game of cricket, which is usually disappointing…I backed the bowlers to keep their heads, we have skillful enough bowlers.  Garry Wilson came up with an outstanding bit of fielding that almost won us the game but like I said I can’t fault our bowlers.  We have put in two really good efforts with ball and in the field and hopefully, we can come up better in the third ODI.”

 

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is not done with Ireland just yet, even though his Caribbean side took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International Series being held in the region.

Joseph starred with the ball again but had a vital innings with the bat to help the West Indies pull off a one-wicket victory against Ireland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.

Choosing to bat first for the second game in a row, the first was a five-wicket loss, Ireland showed they can bat in posting a total of 237-9, thanks, in large part, to Paul Stirling’s 63 at the top of the order. In reply, the West Indies barely got over the line, scoring 242-9, getting to the target with one ball to go.

When Ireland batted, Joseph played chief tormentor for the second game in a row, bagging 4-32, to leave the potential for a big innings from the visitors in tatters.

Joseph was backed up by pace teammate, Sheldon Cottrell, who ended with 3-51.

Joseph was also good with the bat, scoring an important 16 before a mistimed pull off a slower ball from Mark Adair, ended his evening.

Despite the win, Joseph sent a subtle warning to the visitors.

“The win means a lot to everyone, but it's not finished, we have one game to go," said Joseph, after he was awarded his second man-of-the-match honour in as many games.

The young paceman said he was relieved to have come away from the game with a win, but for the first time in his fledgeling career, spoke, for the first time, about his batting.

“We wanted to bat sensibly and get to the score. When I went out to bat, there were a lot of balls to get there and I was looking to play every ball on merit,” said Joseph.

While Joseph is excited about his personal performance, he is also aware that there were others who stood up to be counted.

"Relieved about the win but it's a team game, we all put in the effort,” he said.

Joseph bowled a fuller length to the Irish in this game than he did in the first where he bagged 4-34, explaining that he had read something different from this pitch.

“The wicket was a bit more even than the first game, so I assessed early and bowled to the plan.”

When Joseph spoke about the four-wicket haul he enjoyed in the first ODI against Ireland, he alluded to how much work he had put into getting back to international cricket and his captain, Kieron Pollard, confirmed as much on Thursday, saying he was happy for the young man.

“Alzarri Joseph again the pick of the bowlers getting another four-wicket haul. He continues to show again, his hard work is paying off so congratulations to him,” said Pollard.

 

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is happy to have started the year with a bang after his 4-32 helped the West Indies to a dominant performance in the first game of a three-match One-Day International series against Ireland in the Caribbean.

Joseph, who has been in and out of the West Indies team with injury and because of dips in form, led the attack for a West Indies side that would end up five-wicket winners in a game Ireland never got the handle of.

Choosing to bat, Ireland were in early trouble after Joseph removed the openers, Paul Stirling (15) and Gareth Delany (19) before returning to rip the heat of the middle order with the wickets of Kyle O’Brien (4) and Lorcan Tucket (31).

The visitors to the Kensington Oval in Barbados were eventually rolled for just 180 in 46.1 overs before an unbeaten 99 from opener Evin Lewis made victory secure for the West Indies, who scored 184-5 in just 33.2 overs.

"For me, it's a really good start to the year," said Joseph after receiving his man-of-the-match award on Tuesday.

According to Joseph, the coaching of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benajmin has been instrumental to any improvement he has shown recently.

“Winston Benjamin, whenever I have something going on, I turn to him for advice,” said Joseph.

Despite the influence of Benjamin on his fledgeling career, Joseph is also very aware that there is something else that is key to his development as a consistently good bowler.

"It's just about putting in the hard work in training and doing the yards,” he said.

After the preparation is done, the actual execution may not be that interesting, as his captain, Kieron Pollard, has consistently said.

“Success is boring.”

“I kind of had an idea of how I wanted to bowl today, and I just kept it simple and bowled to my plans," explained Joseph.

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite were among seven West Indies players who went unsold during the 2020 IPL Auction in Kolkata, India on Thursday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.