Special Feature
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Keeper Joshua sees “Da Silva” lining amidst pandemic

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Keeper Joshua sees “Da Silva” lining amidst pandemic

Cricket West Indies’ new investment and focus on emerging and U-19 players has begun bearing fruits for CWI, with the success of the West Indies Emerging Players team – being crowned the 2019 Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup Champions in only their second year of competition.

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Joshua Da Silva, the skilled wicket-keeper/batsman was the leading run-scorer for the Emerging Players team which stunned everyone to win the region’s marquee 50-over event. A confident and competent 21-year-old he took this form back to Trinidad and Tobago where he finished the West Indies Four-Day Championship atop the Red Force run- scoring charts. He has an impressive career record so far.

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In first-class cricket he has played 16 matches and has been efficient and effective in front and behind the stumps with 855 runs including – a century and five half-centuries. His glovework has earned high praise and he has also taken 27 catches and one stumping. In the 50-over format he made 10 appearances, with 331 runs at the top of the order at an impressive average of 41.37 – including a top score of 103 not out.

Da Silva spoke to CWI Media recapping his 2019/20 season.

Joshua Da Silva:

West Indies Championship: 8 Matches, 507 Runs, Average 50.70

Super50 Cup: 9 Matches, 303 Runs, Averaged 44.28

Joshua Da Silva Interview:

How much have you enjoyed the last few months being a part of the winning West Indies Emerging Players Super50 team and becoming a fixture in the Trinidad And Tobago Red Force first-class team?

It’s definitely been more than what I could have hoped for this season. Getting picked in the Emerging Players team was a pleasant surprise after not being picked by the Red Force, which I had thought I would have been selected for.

I was a bit down after non-selection, so when I got the call about my Emerging Players selection, I was very excited and just wanted to make the best of the opportunity.

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Since your debut for Red Force in the 2018/19 season, you have opened the batting and batted in the middle order. Do you have a preferred batting position?

I am a team player. Last season I recall playing the first few games wicketkeeping and batting at six, then, when captain Denesh Ramdin returned from international duty, I moved to opening the batting.

The new ball is a bit harder to face although I think it suits my game a little more than batting in the middle, but overall, I’ve enjoyed both challenges so far.

How much did you believe your Super50 performance aided you in having a good West Indies Championship?

I remember that I wasn’t supposed to play the first Super50 game, but only did as a replacement for team captain Yannic Cariah. Similarly, I wasn’t supposed to play the second game either, but after it became a rain-reduced game coach, (Floyd) Reifer made a tactical change and I played and made 62 not out. The next game I scored my maiden century, so everything just started to fall into place and I took that form into the four-day games.

This season, especially for the Red Force, you were the full-time wicketkeeper compared to last season where you shared responsibility with Denesh Ramdin. How much time do you spend working on your wicket-keeping?

I definitely spend a lot more time working on my batting than my wicket-keeping. I still know there is a lot of stuff I can improve on but I’m very confident with the gloves and would back myself 100 %, because I know I’m a very good wicketkeeper.

So, I believe working on my fitness is key because I’ve experienced situations where I’ve kept for an innings and batted earlier than usual.

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Describe your life in cricket for fans in the West Indies?

I currently play with Queen’s Park Cricket Club and actually didn’t play much cricket when I was young. At age 12 was when I started playing it seriously while attending St. Mary’s College in Trinidad, but before then I basically was just playing in the backyard or with neighbors for fun.

But I never thought I would be a cricketer. I was always a footballer and was kicking a ball as long as I can remember. At St.Mary’s I played both sports from Form One to fFve. It came to a decision where I had to choose one sport to pursue and when I looked at the odds of a football or cricket player making it in the Caribbean, I chose cricket.

My first taste of regional cricket was playing for Trinidad And Tobago Under19s in 2016.

What were some of your goals post domestic season before COVID 19 came along?

Number one on my mind was definitely to get into the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for experience or even the opportunity to play regardless of which team I was picked for.

Also, certainly a West Indies ‘A’ pick. But overall,since this is the first season I have done well, I just want to be consistent and show the selectors I can perform over a consistent period of time.

Players such as yourself, Anderson Phillip, Keagan Simmons, Jayden Seales, Jyd Goodie, Leonardo Julien and Joshua James are among a young cadre of Trinidad and Tobago cricketers that fans have noticed this domestic season and with the West Indies Under 19 team.

How confident and excited are you to be part of this new generation of Red Force players looking to play alongside veterans Kieron Pollard and the Bravo brothers etc?

I’m quite close to many of these guys who also play for Queen’s Park. Bravo (Darren) is always giving me advice and he wants to see the next generation do well. I think the future of Trinidad and Tobago cricket is in good hands, we have a good bunch of upcoming youngsters that can take over the reins from the older players, all we have to do is continue to train hard and keep improving on our performances.