Working within the Covid-19 restrictions has been a challenge for many elite athletes in Trinidad and Tobago. However, professional cricketer Joshua Da Silva is continuing to grind it out in anticipation of another opportunity to showcase his talent on the international stage.
Da Silva recently made his Caribbean Premier League T20 debut and just prior to that, he was selected as part of the West Indies reserve team that toured England in June and July. The West Indies tour of England was the first international cricket tour to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic and it proved crucial in restarting the international game.
The Windies will now be turning their attention to New Zealand for three T20 Internationals and two Test matches to be played from November to December and, while the Windies selection panel is yet to reveal the touring squad for the New Zealand trip, it is likely that many of the players who travelled to England at the height of the pandemic will get another opportunity.
While Da Silva isn’t getting his hopes up in terms of a second West Indies touring opportunity in 2020, he is putting in the work just in case his number is called. The 22-year-old right-handed batsman spoke to the Express yesterday and reflected on what a “fantastic” opportunity the trip to England was and what he learned from his subsequent Caribbean Premier League debut with the SKN Patriots.
Despite not getting an opportunity on the Windies Test team, Da Silva still had a decent tour of England, scoring an unbeaten 133 and 56 not out in a practice match and soaking up everything around him, which he is hoping will help him take his game to higher heights.
“Touring England with the West Indies team was a fantastic experience, probably more than I could have hoped for and what I got out of it was something I will cherish forever. In terms of my career going forward, from the conditions to the people around me, everything was a learning experience,” Da Silva recalled.
“Jason (Holder) and coach Phil (Simmons) took me in and they helped me a lot and I know it is something that will definitely help me to grow and it is just to take what I learned there and put in into my game and move forward and, hopefully, I will have lots more tours for the West Indies,” Da Silva added.
In terms of the upcoming New Zealand tour, Da Silva said he is not getting too carried away. “I am just waiting to see if I get selected and if I do, I am going to put my best foot forward and take it as another experience and hopefully I will get the opportunity to play. But if I don’t, it is just back to the drawing board and back to training and putting in the hard worked for the next opportunity I get to showcase my skills,” he noted.
He also admitted that returning from England to be quarantined ahead of the CPL resulted in a small setback for him in terms of his fitness but insisted that he has been working to get back to his best. “Coming back from England into the CPL was very difficult because of the quarantine. There wasn’t much we could have done and I lost a bit of fitness from there and some of the games in the CPL would have been challenging with the heat,” Da Silva explained.
“I’m definitely working on getting my fitness and strength back up. I am doing my batting drills and wicketkeeper drills just to make sure that if I am selected, I will be ready,” he revealed.
“Working around the Covid-19 restrictions has been a challenge so I am just trying to work on my own, with my dad, and I have been limited in terms of what I can do within the guidelines, so it has been a challenge but I am getting through with it,” he added.
He went on to explain that it was not too big of a setback in terms of by fitness and strength, noting that, “it was just about getting back to playing that fast-paced cricket. I did not play much T20 cricket even at club level, so to get out there and feel out the intensity and how quickly the game can change was another eye-opener.”
The CPL was also another learning opportunity for Da Silva who noted that some elements of the fast-paced format can be incorporated into the Test game. “Finding the gaps in T20 cricket is very important and it is something that I can try to do incorporate in the longer version. Getting singles and rotating the strike is important as well as finding the gaps,” Da Silva added.
While his biggest take away from the England tour and the CPL would have been the experience gained, he also got a glimpse of the pro circuit. “It definitely showed me the workload, the discipline and the work ethic that you have to put in to perform. It was a bit of eye-opener. It definitely opened my eyes to the effort and discipline you need to have to become a legend and to dominate the game at the highest level,” Da Silva concluded.