West Indies rookies Joshua Da Silva and Kyle Mayers were both satisfied with their performances in the recent Test matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and with a few months before South Africa tours the Caribbean in June, the pair are focused on improving their game.
Both players were guests on the Mason and Guest cricket radio programme earlier this week and both said they were happy with their recent Test returns and have identified areas they need to work on before their next West Indies assignment.
The 22-year-old wicketkeeper batsman Joshua Da Silva has played just five Tests, compiling scores of three and 57 on debut against New Zealand last year, before hitting 42 and 20, and 92 and 20, in the two-Test series in Bangladesh in February. He followed up those scores with 46 in the first Test against Sri Lanka and one and 20 not out in the second.
Asked if he was happy with his returns against Sri Lanka, Da Silva said: “Yes. Coming into the series, I just wanted to play my role that I have been playing so far.” As for the areas he needs to work on, Da Silva noted: “I was a bit disappointed with a few shot selections that I made but I will learn from it for the future.”
“The keeping was good, just had that one blemish but overall, I thought I had a good series with the gloves as well,” he added.
The one blemish behind the stumps was a simple catch off Shannon Gabriel that he put down on the final morning of the second Test against Sri Lanka. That series ended 0-0 with Sri Lanka batting out the final day to save the Test.
“I think I am doing a pretty good job personally. I just need to sharpen on those skills and continue working on different shots and expanding my game as much as possible, but I think I am doing a pretty okay job,” Da Silva assessed.
Meanwhile, Kyle Mayers, 28, has played four Tests. He hit 40 and 210 not out in the debut Test against Bangladesh but scored just five and six in the second game. He came back strong with scores of 45 and 52; and 49 and 55 as well as four wickets against Sri Lanka.
Asked if he was happy with his performance against Bangladesh, Mayers said: “Of course. It was my first tour and I thought I did pretty well.”
As for his performance against Sri Lanka, he said he felt “satisfied, not over the moon...I mean I had some good opportunities to get some big scores. I am still learning my game. I am thankful for the starts but still looking to push on get some big scores.”
He said he will be looking to make better decisions when it comes to his shot selections but at the same time, he backed his decision to take on the short ball against the Sri Lankans. “Going over the innings I played, I got caught behind three times. Obviously, that’s something I’ve got to look at going forward and just try to work out my game as I move on,” he said.
“For me personally, the last innings against Sri Lanka, batting with the skipper we thought the bounce was up and down, so it was hard to duck...I chose the option to pull. I can’t say all the shots were controlled but the positivity worked well for me. I chose (to handle the short balls) that way, counter-attacking, and it worked out well for me,” Mayers added.
Da Silva was also tested by the Sri Lankan fast bowlers and he tried to handle differently than Mayers and admitted that he probably fell victim to the Sri Lankan’s plan for him in the first innings of the second Test.
“I guess when I came in, I was looking comfortable against the spin and they decided to bring on (fast bowler Dushmantha) Chameera and he pitched a few up and he realised he wasn’t getting anything, so he decided to go with the short-ball plan, again because he got me out in the first Test that way,” Da Silva reasoned.
“So, I was just trying to leave as many balls as I could and then I saw an opportunity to back-punch one through the covers and probably because of all those short balls I probably just went with hand instead of feet as well, but it happens and that’s how it goes,” he added.