Joshua Da Silva

(Flashback)GOOD GRAB: West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva grasps this catch after running several metres and diving full stretch to dismiss Pakistan’s Hasan Ali on the fourth day of the second and final Test at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday. —Photo: CWI Media

Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva is looking ahead to 2022 with optimism, focused on pushing himself beyond his limits after an “up and down” rookie year with the men in maroon.

Having made his Test debut in December 2020, the past 12 months were all about finding his feet at the international level. Eleven Test matches later, he has garnered 445 runs, averaging 24.72, including three half-centuries.

And while the 23-year-old had some testing moments, he said it was all a learning experience which he will take with him as he looks to up the ante in 2022.

“This year (2021) was a bit up and down,” Da Silva assessed. “It started off pretty well in Bangladesh and I made my ODI debut. The ODIs didn’t go as well as I would have liked but the Test series definitely went well. We won that series and I got some runs under my belt,” he added.

The right-hander had scores for 42, 20, 92 and 20 against Bangladesh but admitted that the following home series against Sri Lanka, South Africa and Pakistan were challenging.

“It was a bit of a tough time with the bat. The keeping was pretty good throughout the year but went through a little tough time with the bat after the Sri Lanka series at home. It wasn’t really going my way but that’s just how cricket is. You’re not going to perform all the time and you have to really understand that it’s not always going to go your way,” he said.

Pakistan proved his toughest assignment with scores of 0, 9, 7 and 0. “The main thing for me was to try and get that first Test hundred but it did not come this year as I would have liked it to. Hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future and I will definitely be able to get that monkey off my back,” Da Silva continued.

“Some goals I would have met… to average over 50 in a series, fortunately I got two not outs in Sri Lanka and that helped me to average 60 so that is probably one of them. But this year (2021) I just wanted to play it by ear and feel out international cricket.

“I wasn’t really too hard on myself. I would’ve liked to score more runs but as I said it doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Next year (2022) I will definitely have a lot more goals jotted down to really have a target to go at,” he added.

In terms of the work done behind the scenes, Da Silva said he would have learned a lot off the field and that he would have gotten an idea of his limits and is working on breaking though those limits to take his game to new heights.

“I did a lot of work with Monty (Desai) just working on my foot movement and just making myself comfortable at the crease. I also did a lot of mental work in just understanding my limits and then working on getting past those limits to make myself a better cricketer. So those are the key things I worked on this year,” Da Silva explained.

With his rookie year done and dusted, Da Silva still isn’t resting on his laurels because as he sees it, “nothing is solid; It’s always just one score from somebody else around the corner.”

He also doesn’t want to leave anything to chance and with the regional first-class season set for next month, Da Silva wants to score heavily to ensure his pick on the West Indies team for the first Test series of the year against England in the West Indies.

“I’m just playing it by ear. The first-class season is coming up and I’m going to work very hard and try to score as many runs as I can so it is not a question of whether or not I will be in the starting eleven. I will just bat and make runs and let the selectors do their job and given the opportunity I will just put my best foot forward for the region,” said Da Silva.

Apart from scoring big in the first-class season, Da Silva also wants to get his maiden Test century in 2022 and even if that does not come to pass, scoring runs and boosting his average will suffice.

“Definitely want to get that first hundred and get that monkey off my back and just ease my mind but if it doesn’t come, I want to still be scoring runs to get that average up in Test cricket to at least 35 by the end of the year and just be consistent and take all my opportunities,” he said.

“I know (big) runs are not going to come all the time but I have to use the time at the crease to the best of my ability,” he added.

From a team perspective, Da Silva said all the players would have been disappointed with how the year ended in Sri Lanka but he said they will take on-board all the lessons from the past 12 months and strive for better in the next 12 months.

“I think we are definitely all disappointed,” he said. “We played good cricket in parts and we did not play consistently good cricket so I think we have only ourselves to blame. I know the whole team as a collective were disappointed in the year especially since we started it off so well,” Da Silva continued.

“We would’ve definitely liked to continue that after winning the series in Bangladesh and drawing the series with Sri Lanka (in the Caribbean). We would have definitely liked to have won a few more series throughout the year, but it is learning experiences for myself and for the team, and we are going to take everything we would have learnt and every encounter we came by this year and take it into next year and hopefully we will start off on a better foot,” he concluded.

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