Joshua Da Silva & the cricket journey
Following his breakthrough in international cricket last year Joshua Da Silva heads into 2021 full of optimism, opportunity and hope.
The 22-year old first donned the famous maroon colours as a substitute wicket-keeper on the team’s tour of England. The Trinidad and Tobago player replaced the injured Shane Dowrich in the third Test against the hosts at Old Trafford. He even managed to garner his first scalp, as he took the catch to dismiss Rory Burns off Roston Chase.
He did not bat, but just the experience of having played in a high quality encounter would have only increased his awareness.
His rise to the international game has been quite remarkable and he has already shown his penchant to perform in both white ball and red ball cricket.
The Background Story
Where is Joshua Da Silva from and how did he get into reckoning?
Almost four years ago, as part of the Kieron Pollard Scholarship Scheme, he travelled to England, to play for Old Wimbledonian CC in the Surrey leagues. He averaged 60 plus that summer. It may be have been third division cricket, but the talent was there for all to see.
His reputation was further enhanced while playing in the regional Super-50. While representing the West Indies Emerging Team in 2019, he gave a glimpse of himself. The team finished 10 points behind favourites Trinidad and Tobago in the group stage, but still managed to qualify for the knock-out rounds. Da Silva himself made a well constructed 103 NO versus the Windward Islands.
They then upset Barbados in the semi-finals, with Da Silva himself top-scored with 27. In the final though, they romped home, defeating the Leeward Islands by a crushing 205 runs. Da Silva only made 10, but managed to grab three dismissals to contribute to the title.
His performances did not go unnoticed back home. He was drafted into the Red Force(Trinidad and Tobago 4-day team) for the following campaign. At the time, former Test wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin was the undisputed number one behind the stumps, but that was all about to change.
Born to play
He made his debut versus Jamaica and celebrated the occasion with a brilliant unbeaten 113 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Torouba. The iconic left-hander himself, might have been proud of that display of batting. He followed that up with an 80 against the Leeward Islands, as he showed that century was no fluke.
Two further scores of 70 plus, both in tricky situations, showed his mentality to “dig in” and fight for the cause. His country finished second behind arch-rivals Barbados, in the shortened season, that was stopped with still two rounds remaining due to Covid.
What was such a remarkable aspect of his batting, was that in that one season, he came in at different times in the batting order. He batted both as an opener and in the middle-order, which clearly showed his ability to adjust to different situations, as the team’s needs required.
Following his solid display in England, he was picked for the Caribbean side’s next series against New Zealand.
The recurring chance
Again, he had to bide his time, as Dowrich was back behind the stumps. However, the Barbadian got injured in the first Test in Hamilton, and Da Silva again filled in. The West Indies team themselves did not have a good tour at all, but the young wicket-keeper made a name for himself.
He took the catches to dismiss Kiwi stalwart batsmen Tom Latham and Ross Taylor. His first chance at bat, only yielded three, but at his second round at the crease, Da Silva demonstrated he had the metal for the 5-day grind of the longest version of the sport.
He came in at 170-6 and joined captain Jason Holder. The two set about re-building the innings slowly, but surely. They added a stoke-filled 82 runs, with both scoring at a rate of over 65. By the time he was ninth man out with the score at 307, Da Silva had amassed 57 from 84 balls, with six 6’s.
His best strokes were square of the wicket, with a couple of sumptuous pulls, while his slap straight back down the ground after passing his maiden Test half-century, was very dismissive to say the least. It was a controlled aggressive type of innings, in the traditions of West Indians of the past.
The future of Joshua Da Silva in West Indies Cricket
Now, having been selected for both the Test and ODI squads for the tour of Bangladesh, Da Silva will be trying to further enhance his standing in the West Indies. The tour runs from 10th January till the 15th February. It will consist of three ODI’s and two Tests.
Both series are of vital importance, as the Test form part of the World Test Championship and the limited overs are included in the World Super League for qualifying for the 2023 World Cup. A number of players have opted out of the tour due to the pandemic, including captains Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard and experienced campaigners Darren Bravo Roston Chase.
It gives the likes of Da Silva the opportunity to not only play international cricket in tough away conditions, but to fully establish himself in the set-up for the future.
It’s a chance he must grab with both hands.
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