‘HERE TO PROVE DOUBTERS WRONG’
ADELAIDE, Australia (CMC) — Wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva says the West Indies hope to use the two Tests against hosts and world champions Australia to try to restore pride in their brand.
The 25-year-old Trinidadian is one of only five players in the 15-member Test squad of the Caribbean side that has returned for the series that starts on Wednesday (Tuesday at 6:30 pm Jamaica time) at Adelaide Oval before moving to Gabba in Brisbane on January 25.
West Indies were beaten convincingly in two Tests in late 2022 in Australia, and with several established players making themselves unavailable — including former Captain Jason Holder and fellow all-rounder Kyle Mayers — because of Twenty20 franchise playing commitments, the Test squad includes seven uncapped players.
At least three of the uncapped players are likely to make their debuts during the first Test but Da Silva, who requires only two dismissals to reach 100 in the format, said the squad is keen to prove the doubters wrong.
“Last year is last year, and we’re here to try again,” he told reporters on Sunday when West Indies stepped up preparations for the Frank Worrell Trophy series with a training session at the iconic match venue.
“We’re going to give it our best effort. We have a few new faces so there’s going to be a bit of new blood coming in. I know the boys are excited, and I’m definitely excited and raring to go.
“Everybody’s really keen. Seven uncapped players; if they haven’t gotten a taste, they’re really raring to go get a taste of it, so the mood in the camp is great and we’re really looking forward to it.”
West Indies have not beaten the Australians in a Test series at home or abroad in a little more than 31 years, and they have gone 19 matches in close to 21 years without winning a Test against the Baggy Greens. But Da Silva said the series is a chance for them to start rebuilding their fading Test reputation.
“That’s always the goal,” he said. “Each and every one of us here is looking forward to making the West Indies a winning team again. That’s the main goal we have.
“We talk about it every day, about getting back to those days, but it’s a new era now and we’re just looking forward to making our own brand and playing that brand of cricket.”
Former West Indies captain and batting maestro Brian Lara will spend the two Tests behind the TV commentary microphone for Fox Cricket but he attended the training session to share some of his knowledge with the players in his role of mentor, which he assumed last February.
“The knowledge he has is second to none,” Da Silva said about working with his fellow Trinidadian, who holds the world records for highest individual Test and first class scores of 400 not out and 501 not out, respectively.
“What he’s done for the game, what he’s done for West Indies cricket on his own, just having him around, just his presence alone speaks for itself.
“He’s here to work with everyone. He’s our mentor so he’s going to be helping everybody — bowlers and batters — because he has so much experience. I think everybody can learn from him.”