Jamaica: West Indies have added 19-year-old fast bowler Alzarri Joseph to their squad for the second test against India starting in Jamaica on Saturday.
Joseph brings genuine pace to a West Indies attack that struggled for penetration in a lopsided innings and 92-run defeat in the first test in Antigua last week.
The Antiguan teenager earned selection after impressing in the under-19 World Cup won by West Indies in February. He bowled the fastest delivery of the tournament, clocked at 143 kilometres per hour.
Joseph has played just eight first class matches, picking up 24 wickets at an average of a tad over 24.
West Indies veteran Marlon Samuels described Joseph as “young, fit, fast and fearless” and chairman of selectors Courtney Browne thought the youngster was ready for promotion.
“We feel that Alzarri … will now benefit from the professional guidance of our coaching staff and the presence of fast bowling legend Joel Garner as manager,” Browne said.
Joseph’s addition brings the squad to 14 players, with nobody dropped after the first test, where India piled up 566 for eight declared.
Shannon Gabriel was the only genuine quick in that line-up, backed by fast-medium exponents Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite.
Early reports suggest the pitch at Sabina Park in Kingston may be green and give the fast bowlers some assistance in the second of the four tests in the series.
West Indies also underperformed with the bat in the first test, compiling scores of only 243 and 231.
Samuels, who scored one and 50, says it is time he raised his test batting to the level of his performances in Twenty20 and One Day Internationals.
He averages only 33.39 in test matches, less than his ODI average and not far shy of his Twenty20 average.
“I haven’t been getting the runs I’ve been looking for in the test arena but I’ve been making up in the shorter version,” the 35-year-old said.
“It’s up to me to focus more and (put) in some big performance so the team can benefit.”
He said he felt “a lot of pressure” and was aware he needed to temper his aggression at times and focus on occupying the crease.
“I’m batting at four, so I have to dominate. The responsibility is great so I have to change my game.”