TEENAGED wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva is set to make his First-Class debut today when the Red Force and the Windward Islands Volcanoes square off in their second-round match, in the West Indies Championship.
This game will take place at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.
TT were inactive in the first round was their scheduled game against the Jamaica Scorpions was postponed to March 14-17. The Volcanoes started their campaign horribly, suffering a convincing 125-run defeat at home to the reigning champs Guyana Jaguars at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia.
Both Red Force and Volcanoes teams had training sessions at the National Cricket Centre, Balmain, Couva, yesterday.
Red Force coach Kelvin Williams said, “I’m looking forward to a good start. We normally start well, and we really want it to continue.”
The Red Force finished bottom of the six-team standings in a forgettable second half to the 2017-2018 edition .
“As far as the fitness levels are concerned, we’re trying to rectify that to make sure that the players could be on the park throughout the 10 matches that we’re going to play,” Williams added. “It’s all a work in progress but we’re getting there.”
And Volcanoes captain, ex-Barbados and West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards, is not harping on their opening loss as the season is still very early. He noted, “Everyone wants to win every game that they play; that’s not how it goes all the time, but you focus on your process and you just keep coming…Win, draw or lose, you have to fight, and that’s what we did last game. We’re going to take that a step further.”
Da Silva and Amir Jangoo, who made his First-Class debut last season, are the two wicketkeeper/batsmen named in the 13-member Red Force squad.
But Williams pointed out, “(Da Silva) will be playing because of the two roles that he plays.”
Denesh Ramdin is expected to be part of the WI T20 team in Bangladesh, so experienced leg-spinner Imran Khan will take over the mantle as Red Force captain.
“He’s a guy who’s been around for quite a while,” said Williams. “He’s a wicket-taker. He’s played with all the youngsters before. They’re looking up to him.”
Edwards commented that the team spirit within his squad is very high, despite last weekend’s loss to the Jaguars.
“We fought really well against the defending champions,” said Edwards. “They’ve played very good cricket for the past couple of years. We admire that and that’s the road we’re on now.”
Former WI opener Devon Smith is back after missing the first round for personal reasons, while pacer Shermon Lewis joins the squad after returning home from the 2-0 Test series defeat away to Bangladesh.
“Devon is a ‘runs-machine’ and Shermon is a young and exciting bowler,” said Edwards. “We’re very happy to have both of them back.”
He has high expectations for WI Under-19 batsman Alick Athanaze.
“Alick is a star in the making,” noted the Volcanoes skipper. “He’s held up his hand like he’s been playing for the last 20 years. It’s only positives we can say about Alick.”
Edwards also hailed the roles of experienced duo, opener Tyron Theophile and off-spinner Shane Shillingford, on and off the field.
RED FORCE – Imran Khan (captain), Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Joshua Da Silva, Kyle Hope, Ricky Jaipaul, Amir Jangoo, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Odean Smith, Jeremy Solozano, Daniel St Clair, Tion Webster.
VOLCANOES – Kirk Edwards (captain), Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Tarryck Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Delorn Johnson, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Shane Shillingford, Denis Smith, Devon Smith, Tyron Theophile, Josh Thomas.