SPORTS

Could Windies’ Joshua Replace Dow In The First Test?

I say the train is coming baby

I say the train is coming now

I say the train is coming baby

I say the train is coming now

So long I’ve been waiting, waiting for you, oh yeah

Now the time has come, when it’s between you and me, oh Lord

Ken Boothe

Cricket fans and pundits are ‘waiting to exhale’ as Windies get set to meet England in what in the past one would call a battle royal, but today — a clash.

The match gets underway July 8, a date that marks the siege of Jerusalem in 1099, during the First Crusade. Needless to say, what took place back then, except that it was a massacre.

But I digress, the fact is, it will be the first international game of any sort to be held since 2020.

The Windies have already completed their warmup games and traveled from Manchester to Southampton, where the First Test match will be played at the Ageas Bowl.

Nothing much has been said about the wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich, who featured in the first warmup game but was declared injured and unable to complete the game.

He received treatment back in the dressing room; however, Simmons later confirmed he would need to see a doctor, but insisted he was “doing fine.”

If push comes to shove, this would not be the first time Dowrich would be made to sit out a first Test match as in 2019 he suffered an ankle injury and was ruled out of the first Test between West Indies and India.

That said, Dowrich, the 28-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, has acquitted himself well since making his Test debut against Australia in 2015.

So far, he has played 31 Tests for the Windies and amassed 1,444 runs at an average of 30.08. He has scored three centuries and eight fifties in the longest format of the game.

In the warmup game which he was unable to complete, he scored 56 not out, albeit scratchy runs, but ’twas runs on the board.

In 2017, Dowrich had a horrible experience playing in England, both behind and in front the stumps. His average in the series back then was 4.80 with a highest score of 14.

Notwithstanding, he has made amends since then and can currently be regarded as one of the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world — since the start of 2018, no keeper has scored more Test runs at a better average.

Dowrich posits that he is a transformed player and is raring to go against the country that taught his forebears to play cricket.

“I consider myself a different player to what I was three years ago,” Dowrich said recently.

He told the media that “The last time I was here, [in England] it was very tough for me – it was a series that really changed around my career.”

He said further, “I was young, I was in unfamiliar territory – to be honest, I really didn’t cope well with it. Since then, I’ve been able to go away, and I’ve learned a lot from my experience over here last time. Playing in England will always be a challenge, but I think I’m ready for it.”

On the other hand, if Dowrich proved not to be ready because of his side injury, the Windies would have to look to Joshua to deliver them from England.

The 22-year-old Trinidadian wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva is an upstart some would say, but a good one, excellent one even.

He made his First-Class debut for Trinidad and Tobago in the 2018–19 Regional Four Day Competition on December 13, 2018, and has not looked back since.

He subsequently made his List A debut on November 7, 2019, for the West Indies.

In first-class cricket, he has played 16 matches and proved his mettle in front and behind the stumps with 855 runs, including – a century and five half-centuries.

His glovework has been described as exquisite, thus earning him high praise. He has taken 27 catches and one stumping thus far in his young career.

In the 50-over format, he made ten appearances, with 331 runs at the top of the order at an impressive average of 41.37 – including a top score of 103 not out.

His First-Class and List A performances have propelled him to the List of eleven reserve players currently on tour in England.

The Trinidadian wicketkeeper-batsman is the only centurion on tour thus far, scoring an unbeaten century and 56 not out in the second warmup match.

And if he should brag – he is the first batsman in history to score a century in a “biosecure” environment.

Da Silva is a very compact, organized, composed, and balanced player. He plays with a straight bat, and most importantly, very patient and focused when he’s at the wicket.

He apparently does his own commentary while batting, given his social media output.

The truth is if Dow is unable to show, the Windies has an excellent player in waiting — Da Silva is worth the ‘weight’ in gold, some may say!

Nigel Bell, Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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