West Indies hero Shamar Joseph has been forced to withdraw from an upcoming T20 cricket tournament in the United Arab Emirates after succumbing to the toe injury he suffered during the remarkable Test win over Australia at the Gabba. Joseph defied the pain from a brutal Mitchell Starc yorker on day three to take the astonishing second innings bowling figures of 7-68 and help the Windies clinch a first Test win in Australia in 27 years.
The 24-year-old rookie cemented his place in cricket folklore with one of the finest individual performances from a touring player, almost singlehandedly sealing the West Indies' first Test triumph in Australia since 1997. Joseph's victims in the extraordinary second innings spell included Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, earning him man-of-the-match honours.
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A number of the Aussie players stopped and applauded Joseph as he lapped up the victory near the boundary after the match. The hosts could also been seen congratulating the 24-year-old warmly as the players shook hands, with Cummins also involved in a classy exchange of shirts with the paceman after the match.
Joseph's performance was all the more remarkable considering few had given him any chance of playing on the decisive day four. It was initially thought that the 24-year-old had suffered a broken toe from the brutal Starc delivery on day three that forced Joseph to retire hurt, as the West Indies innings came to an abrupt halt.
In a sign of the pain Joseph was clearly battling, the electric quick has now been forced to pull out of the UAE's International League (ILT20), due to the foot injury. It's a sad setback for a player who announced himself onto the international cricket stage in such a spectacular way, and who is surely set to attract lucrative offers in white-ball cricket in the future.
Joseph decided to fly directly to the UAE for the second edition of the ILT20 competition, rather than stay and compete against Australia in the upcoming ODI series, getting underway on Friday at the MCG. Joseph was slated to link up with the likes of David Warner, Sam Billings and Jason Holder in the UAE as part of the Dubai Capitals squad.
Shamar Joseph pulls out of T20 competition
However , West Indies officials have confirmed that Joseph is flying home to the Caribbean to rest his right foot and will miss out on making his ILT20 debut, in a blow for the player and fans. Joseph is set to link up Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League next month after being selected in the replacement draft.
He will join the side as a replacement for Englishman Gus Atkinson, who is unavailable for the beginning of the tournament that commences on February 18. In a massive boost for the West Indies' future prospect in Test cricket, however, Joseph said he was committed to forging a long-term career in the longest format of the sport.
Joseph's meteoric rise was put perfectly into context by the admission from Windies captain Kraigg Brathwaite that he'd only met Joseph for the first time during the team's Australia tour. "And just from speaking to him, I knew he was special," Brathwaite said about the paceman. "He told me I'm not putting down this ball until the last wicket falls."
Braithwaite said it was important for the players to return to their respective islands and lead the way to ensure the victory resonates throughout the West Indies. The tourists were without a number of big-name players in Australia, with more and more talent preferring the riches of the global T20 circuit to Tests.
"It means everything with the legends here watching," Brathwaite said about the likes of Brian Lara, Carl Hooper and Ian Bishop. "Everyone loves West Indies and for us to come and do it against the No.1 team in the world in Australia, is amazing. It shows, once you have the belief, play with some heart, you can do anything."
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