Shamar Joseph Is Here; And It Seems, He’s Here To Stay

image-lritt6yyShamar Joseph has had a sensational debut in Adelaide [AP]

When the West Indies took the field for the opening Test of the ongoing two-match series against Australia, they may never have expected that one of the top contributors to their team total, a paltry one at that, by the way, would come thanks to their number ten. 

Not Joshua Da Silva, not the calm-headed Tagenarine Chanderpaul and not even the usually resilient and disciplined Kraigg Brathwaite either; none of these usually solid batters were able to make the runs that Shamar Joseph managed from a position at which easy dismissals and quick walk-backs to the pavilion are a common thing. 

As a matter of fact, the trio wasn't even able to make thirty runs combined when a little-known Shamar Joseph made 36 on his own and at a time when his team were, by usual batting standards, doing appallingly bad.  

If it happens that somehow Alzarri Joseph's pre-match ambition- "We aren't here to play the Tests, we are here to win them"- comes true, the West Indies will thank their newbie Shamar Joseph endlessly. It's not often that a tail wags for as long as it did on this occasion, especially with two West Indian batters involved in some sort of rescue operation. 

This brings one to wonder what might have happened if Kemar Roach had not ably supported the enthusiastic Joseph. In a game where, as seen in the first inning itself, every run mattered, Shamar Joseph's 36 toward his team's pitiable 188 total was a Golden Globe-winning performance, except he wasn't acting. 

The Guyanese, who'd truly come into his own with the red ball a session later, would unleash real stuff, a performance that made for a compelling opening day's play even as his team spent most of its time on the back foot.  

Interestingly, Shamar Joseph had shared a candid confession centred around the game, his maiden in a West Indies Test jersey, saying he had worked particularly hard to get as far as he has and that now that he's here, he belongs at the Test level. 

To some who are constantly acting as armchair critics, for it comes easy in life, such an honest statement may have been viewed with irrational exuberance or something expressed with a lot of self-pride. 

image-lritw9enJoseph scalped a fifer on his Test debut [AP]

However, Shamar Joseph wasn't bluffing. To many, it is worth reminding that life's true meaning lies in actions; the proof of the pudding is in the eating. 

Just that this wasn't meant to be a dessert that a certain Steve Smith- a modern great and, indisputably, among the batting geniuses from Australia- particularly enjoyed. 

Only the right-arm medium pacer from the Caribbean could have undersold the value of his effort with the red ball when he removed Smith from the wicket on just his maiden delivery for the West Indies. 

Smith's first inning as a proper Australian opening bat was rendered calamitous by an up-and-coming cricketer whose surname coincides with the other Joseph around him: the big Alzarri. However, even this big blazing feat was among the many bright spots Shamar Joseph was responsible for. 

He would soon after get one of the most accomplished batters in the format: Marnus Labuschagne's rather short-lived stay at the wicket was courtesy of a delivery-carrying pace and bounce that the South Africa-born Australian cricketer could do little to evade. 

In the aftermath of an exasperating day's play that could so easily have been utterly one-sided, a visibly content Joseph exclaimed, "I love how Steve Smith goes on about his cricket. I like him. So I'll definitely hang it (the picture of his dismissal) in my room!" 

Just that unlike many other renowned or big stage cricketers' rooms or plush homes that are in salubrious destinations, Shamar's happens to be in a remote village deep in Guyana, which apparently requires one to undertake a boat journey of tens of hundreds of kilometres for it to be reached. 

Typically, when we hear the word Guyana, we are instantly reminded of the sheer grit of Sir Clive Lloyd. We think of, among other things, sugarcane, sweet-natured people, the tiger of West Indies cricket called Shiv Chanderpaul and now, in more recent years, the adorable "Hetty" Shimron Hetmyer. 

But given his passionate approach to cricket, where he's just played maybe 5 or 6 first-class games and where he's but one Test match old- but growing- it wouldn't be surprising if the impassioned fan soon begins to associate West Indies cricket, not just his native Guyana, with Shamar Joseph.

To many, his is a sprint from Guyana to Adelaide.  

But it could be a coming-of-age journey that'll hopefully yield an unforgettable long-distance run, one that'll write the next chapters of Caribbean pace bowling with unrelenting focus. 

Keep going, Shamar.