Joshua Da Silva caught the eye of many onlookers when scoring an unbeaten 133 in West Indies’ final intra-squad warm-up game at Old Trafford. But what’s his story, and could he make a debut this series?
In the run-up to the Caribbean red-ball campaign, Joshua Da Silva was a central figure for the West Indies Emerging team as they won the limited-overs Super50 Cup. The keeper-batsman made 103* against the Windward Islands, having blasted 62* from 44 balls against the USA, during the tournament’s group phase. He then went on to top score for his side in a low-scoring semi-final victory against Barbados.
The 22-year-old followed up his white-ball success with an unbeaten 113 against Jamaica in the opening game of the West Indies Championship (the domestic four-day competition), before making 80 a week later. A second innings 79* from 168 deliveries against the Leeward Islands demonstrated that Da Silva has plenty of defensive stoicism to complement the attacking fluidity he displayed in the Super50; coming in with his side 19-3 and leading by only 55, Da Silva marshalled Trinidad to a total they just about managed to defend. Without his contribution they almost certainly wouldn’t have.
Given the fragility at the top of the West Indies’ batting order and Da Silva’s success at Old Trafford against the new ball, many pundits have been touting him to get a chance to open the batting at some stage during this tour.
What’s Joshua Da Silva’s story?
In 2017, Da Silva, as part of the Kieran Pollard Scholarship scheme, arrived at Old Wimbledonians CC to get a taste of English club cricket. Over the course of the season he very much impressed, averaging over 60. However, despite his assured performances in the UK, nobody would have anticipated quite how meteoric a rise Da Silva would go on to enjoy. In the intervening three years he has established himself in the Trinidad and Tobago four-day side, competing for the gloves with Windies stalwart Denesh Ramdin, and has a List A average of 41.37 from 10 matches. Now, it seems he could be on the cusp on his international debut.
Just one: weight. Santokie Nagulendran, co-host of the Caribbean Cricket Podcast, noted on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, that after his first-class debut in the 2018-19 season, Da Silva “had a problem with fitness – he had to lose a lot of weight”. In fairness to Da Silva, that’s exactly what he did, losing 30lbs and garnering the requisite physical fitness to bat long. So far, it seems to have done the trick.
“He [Da Silva] has pressed his case in the warm-up games, so there will be pressure on both openers”, says Santokie Nagulendran. It seems an accurate appraisal of da Silva’s current prospects; he’s made his argument, but the incumbents will need to show themselves to be ill-equipped against England’s bowlers if he is to get an opportunity at the top of the order on this tour.