“I’m no weak link”.
That was the warning issued by 23-year-old West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph to his English opponents ahead of the three-Test series.
Speaking during a Zoom press conference yesterday, Joseph said that while his opponents might look at him as the weakest of the West Indies fast-bowlers, he believes he can hold his own and will use the opportunity to bolster his reputation.
Joseph is coming off some decent performances in the first West Indies practice match that ended Thursday at Old Trafford, in which he grabbed four wickets for 60 runs in the first innings and two for 17 in the second.
Meanwhile, the most senior pacer in the line-up, Kemar Roach, took 1/62 in the first innings and 0/30 in the second, and Shannon Gabriel took 3/32 and 1/48.
Skipper Jason Holder didn’t bowl in the match, triggering fears that he could be nursing an injury, but coach Phil Simmons described the all-rounder’s problem as a “slight niggle” and said he would be back to bowling in this week’s four-day training game.
“Obviously those three guys have a lot more experience than I do,” said Joseph.
“I think more often than not, teams will see me as the weaker link so I think my job is to come in and just back up those bowlers and keep the pressure on.”
‘Better bowler now’
While Joseph admitted that he hadn’t played the volume of matches as his counterparts, he thinks he is a better bowler than he was on his previous trip to England and that if the opposition underestimates him, he is ready to capitalise on any lapses.
Joseph has only played nine Tests so far, taking 25 wickets while Holder has played 40, Roach 56 and Gabriel 45.
“But I can use it as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know, but once I get out there on the day and get the job done, I know I can get on top of any opponent,” said the young Antiguan.
“I see this tour as an opportunity for me to help the team push higher up the rankings. Any opportunity I get to play, I’ll take it, and whatever the captain and the team requires of me, I’ll give my very best.
“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler (since my first tour to England). That was a really big learning experience for me. I have some experience here now and I’ll know more about these conditions the second time around,” he added.
The West Indies will start their final four-day warm-up match tomorrow at Old Trafford before travelling to Southampton for the first Test which bowls off on July 8.
#RaiseTheBat Test Series
July 8-12: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester