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Joshua Da Silva – Making his bat talk | England vs West Indies 2020

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When West Indies named a 25-man squad for the three-match Test series (14 first-choice and 11 reserves), not a lot of people would’ve noticed the name, Joshua Da Silva. It’s not even been a couple of years since the wicket-keeper batsman made his first-class debut. Hence, there wasn’t a lot of noise around him.

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In fact, there was hardly anyone who kept an eye on Da Silva in the first intra-squad warm-up game. He scored a duck in the first innings before making just 14 in the second. He pouched four catches in the first innings. However, he’s now caught a lot of attention. He carried his bat in the second warm-up game while playing for Holder XI. No other player in the line-up even crossed 40 and Da Silva made an unbeaten 133 and has shot into the limelight.

 

Background and experience

Joshua Da Silva wasn’t an early starter in cricket. He was an athlete but not exactly a cricketer. It was only in 2016 that the Trinidadian decided to take the cricket route instead of football. He played a few games here and there in age-group cricket in Trinidad. However, he didn’t go on to represent the West Indies national side at the Under-19 level. He was never picked.

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Da Silva joined the famous Queens Park CC and it was there that he honed his skills. As a 17-year-old, he was a part of the Kieron Pollard scholarship programme. He played for Old Wimbledonians CC in Surrey as a part of that programme and played club cricket. In the 2017 season, Da Silva was one of the best players. He averaged more than 60 with the bat and got big runs consistently. He was good with the gloves as well. The young wicket-keeper batsman almost won a game single-handedly for his side and scored a fine 115, more than half of the runs coming while batting with No. 11.

After the successful stint in club cricket in England, Da Silva continued to up his game. In the 2017-18 season, he piled on the runs and continued his excellent form for his club Queens Park CC as well. Moreover, he improved on his fitness and often worked with top West Indian cricketers like Shannon Gabriel and Sunil Narine.

With a bag full of runs and good form behind him, Da Silva got an opportunity to play for Trinidad in first-class cricket. He made his debut in December 2018 and had a decent outing first-up. He scored 24 and 41 in the two innings and showed decent temperament. However, the Trinidad youngster didn’t have a fruitful maiden first-class season. It could be more termed as a middling one where he did decently behind the stumps and largely blew hot and cold with the bat. He scored 348 runs at an average of 21.75 with two half-centuries. The wicket-keeper bat was also overlooked for the One-Day competition.

 

Claim to fame

After a middling or even mediocre debut season, Da Silva raised his game and started delivering the goods consistently. Be it first-class cricket or List ‘A’ cricket, the wicket-keeper batsman got runs regularly. He was the top performer for Trinidad. He even displaced the veteran Dinesh Ramdin as the premier first-choice wicket-keeper of Trinidad.

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Da Silva scored 507 runs at an average of 50.70 which included a maiden first-class ton and three half-centuries in the 2019-20 first-class season in West Indies. He was by far the best batsman for Trinidad in the 2019-20 season. In the Super50 Cup, the domestic One-Day competition in the Caribbean, he amassed 310 runs (one hundred and one half-century) averaging 44.28 while playing for the West Indies Emerging Team.

It was really the 2019-20 season that got Da Silva a ticket for the England tour. He may not be a first-choice but with the unbeaten 133 he made against the likes of Oshane Thomas, Chemar Holder and Rakeem Cornwall, he’s sent out a statement. If there is someone after Shane Dowrich who should don the gloves, it should be him.

Moreover, he was even picked in the West Indies President’s XI side which faced Ireland earlier this year. He scored 21 in that game and took three catches.

 

How important is this series for Da Silva?

Da Silva isn’t a part of the original 14-man squad. However, if the need arises, he’s right there and will be an able backup for Dowrich – both with the bat and with the gloves. The 22-year-old hasn’t played T20 cricket just as yet but it is certain that he will be signed up in the Caribbean Premier League draft. The lure of T20 cricket is pretty big in the Caribbean. However, Da Silva has started to find success in the longer formats and has expressed his desire to play Test cricket for West Indies as well which is a good sign.

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Record

Joshua Da Silva has played just a couple of first-class seasons back in the Caribbean. In the 2018-19 season, he wasn’t really up to the mark and was pretty inconsistent. However, in the last season, he did show that he has improved, his fitness levels have gone up and he can be a lot more dependable. Overall, in 16 first-class games, Da Silva has scored 855 runs at an average of 32.88. In List ‘A’ cricket, the Trinidad wicket-keeper bat has played 10 games and averages 41.37 while aggregating 41.37. He’s been very good with the gloves in both formats as well.