By Neto Baptiste
Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has played down widespread calls for his elevation to new ball status, stating that although he is up for any challenge, his focus remains on the continued improvement of his all-round game.
“I can’t say whenever I want to bowl, whomever I want to bowl to, and what position, so whenever the captain sees me fit to bowl in whatever situation, I can’t do anything but take it and use my opportunity, so it’s not really what I focus on. I see myself as a bowler that can bowl in any condition, any part of the game, but it’s a team sport, and wherever I fit into the team then that’s where I look to focus on and play my part,” he said.
Pundits had questioned a decision by Test captain Jason Holder to take the new ball ahead of Joseph during the West Indies final Test against New Zealand during the senior team’s recent tour to that country.
Many argued that the Antiguan should have been given the opportunity to work the new ball in the absence of the more experienced Kemar Roach who left the tour following the passing of his father, Andrew Smith, in early December.
Joseph, who played a pivotal role in the region’s triumph in the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup before he was elevated to the senior squad, said he is still learning and improving with every outing.
“There is always room for improvement so I always keep trying to improve my game in all three aspects [bowling, batting and fielding] so for me it’s just about keeping on improving and getting better at everything. My consistency in my bowling has improved from the under-19 level and its just for me to keep working at it and keep getting better at it,” the player said.
Joseph, in the recent tour to New Zealand, showed improvement with the bat, hitting 86 from 125 balls which included nine fours and three sixes. He claimed four wickets for 208 runs in the two Tests. The Antiguan has been included in both the Test and ODI squads set to tour Bangladesh this month.