TALENTED West Indies pace ace Alzarri Joseph has spoken of his excitement after he was unveiled as Worcestershire’s overseas player for the opening phase of the 2021 season.
The fast bowler will fly in from Antigua on April 4 and is available for seven successive LV=Insurance County Championship fixtures.
The 24-year-old Joseph has played 14 Tests in total, claiming 34 wickets, plus 34 ODIs, taking 54 wickets.
Joseph was also the West Indies leading wicket-taker during the 2016 Under-19 World Cup with 13 wickets in six games. He then made his full Test debut later that year.
He has also developed into a useful performer with the bat and, in two of his last three Test appearances, scored 86 against New Zealand in Hamilton and 82 versus Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Joseph grabbed headlines worldwide after his debut for Mumbai Indians against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League in 2019. His astonishing figures of 6-12 are the best by a bowler in the competition’s history.
He was among those to impress when the West Indies travelled to England at the height of the pandemic last year and took ten wickets in the series victory in the Caribbean in 2019.
“When I heard the club was interested in me, I had no hesitation in saying yes,” Joseph said.
“The club has a strong squad with a nice balance of youth and experience and I’m really looking forward to working with bowling coach Alan Richardson.
“I would also like to thank Cricket West Indies for allowing me the opportunity to go and experience county cricket.”
Joseph will become the latest Windies pace ace to take to the field at New Road, following in the footsteps of the likes of Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Kenny Benjamin.
He will become the 12th West Indian to represent Worcestershire since the Second World War on a list which also includes Chris Gayle and all-rounder Collis King.
The first West Indian to play for Worcestershire post-war was Jamaican Hartley Lobban who featured in 17 first class matches between 1952 and 1954.
The two who made the biggest impact for Worcestershire were batsman Ron Headley and opening bowler Vanburn Holder.
Headley played for the county between 1958 and 1974 and scored more than 21,000 first class runs in his career.
Holder represented Worcestershire with distinction between 1968 and 1981 and amassed 950 first class wickets.
Club Steering Group chairman Paul Pridgeon said: “He (Joseph) is a quality performer and we are delighted to have signed him for the best part of two months.
“With it looking like Josh Tongue and Pat Brown may not be match-fit for the start of the season, Alex Gidman and Joe Leach both felt they needed another seamer.
“Alzarri is going to be available for seven matches and is an exciting prospect.”