Fitness concerns have forced Alzarri Joseph out of the upcoming Test tour of India, with the little known West Indies A seamer Shermon Lewis named as his replacement.
In a rather cryptic release Tuesday, Cricket West Indies said Joseph had undergone two fitness assessments over the last week, resulting in the medical panel recommending that the 21-year-old be “allowed to continue his rehabilitation to full fitness for international competitions.”
Joseph only returned to competitive cricket 2-½ months ago during Bangladesh’s tour of the Caribbean, following a six-month layoff with a stress fracture of the back.
He played two ODIs with little success and also turned out four times for St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots during the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League. His last appearance was on September 4 against Barbados Tridents in Basseterre.
The CWI statement said the Antiguan Joseph will now “continue his rehabilitation programme under the monitoring of medical officials at the High-Performance Centre at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.”
Joseph shot to prominence at the 2016 Youth World Cup in Bangladesh as part of the Windies squad which lifted the Caribbean’s first ever title.
He was subsequently fast-tracked into the senior squad, making his Test and one-day debut that same year.
Joseph has taken 15 wickets in six Tests and 24 from 16 ODIs.
His replacement, Lewis, may consider himself quite fortunate, after only making his debut last year for Windward Islands Volcanoes.
The right-armer took just seven wickets in four matches during the 2016-17 season before grabbing 30 wickets at an average of 21 last season. He subsequently toured England with West Indies A, topping the visitors’ bowling charts with 10 wickets in the two four-day “Tests.”
All told, Lewis has taken 49 wickets at 26 apiece.
Twenty-two year-old Leeward Islands Hurricanes fast bowler, Jeremiah Louis, boasts a superior record, however, taking 40 wickets last season to bump his career tally up to 73 at an average of 26.
Only Guyana’s Keemo Paul, already a part of the Test squad, took more wickets as a fast bowler with 42 scalps.
Lewis joins a pace attack headed by Shannon Gabriel and including captain Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Paul.
According to CWI, some members of the Test squad have travelled to Dubai to begin preparation for the series which runs from October 4-16, starting in Rajkot.