JOSHUA Da Silva and Anderson Phillip, who both described their experience on the West Indies tour of England as a learning experience, said team unity helped them cope with the isolation on the lengthy tour.
Da Silva, 22, and Phillip, 23, were among the ten reserves on the tour along with the 15-man squad. Da Silva starred in one of the intra-squad practice matches as he struck a century. In the final Test he also got the opportunity to be the wicketkeeper for more than a session after first choice keeper Shane Dowrich got injured.
Phillip, who also played in the warm-up matches, would have rubbed shoulders with several fellow pace bowlers on the tour. The other pace bowlers on the squad were Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, captain Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Chemar Holder, Oshane Thomas, Raymon Reifer, Preston McSween, Keon Harding, Marquino Mindley and Kyle Mayers.
The players spent seven weeks in England that included a four-week training camp at Old Trafford, Manchester leading up to the three-match Test series which ran from July 8 to 28. Due to covid19 the players were in a bubble and were confined to the facilities at Manchester and Southampton.
Da Silva, discussing the England tour, said, "The experience was second to none. I could not really explain how amazing it was. It was just an experience that I wouldn't forget and it will help me a lot in my career to come with everything that I have learned and mingling with all the senior players etcetera. So it was a very good experience."
Da Silva, who is currently in quarantine at the Hilton Hotel with the other Caribbean Premier League (CPL) players and officials, said he coped with the living arrangements in England.
"It was pretty good. It was a lot better than I thought it would be because we had the game room and we had a lot of team activities that we did amongst each other, so we helped each other get through it and we made a lot of fun."
Getting an opportunity to operate behind the stumps in the final Test was an exciting end to the tour for Da Silva. "That just summed up my whole tour, that just made everything worthwhile. All the work I did...just to get that experience (and) to get a little taste of it was amazing."
On the England tour, Phillip said, "I found it was good one. Despite all the circumstances with covid19 and regulations it was a good one for me. Just experiencing and seeing what it is like at that level."
The TT fast bowler said the living arrangements were challenging at times, but the camaraderie in the camp made it easier. "It was tough but everyone stuck together, always was there for each other during the tour, so it worked out pretty well."
Phillip gained knowledge from the more seasoned fast bowlers.
"Just actually being there and seeing how they go about things it was definitely a learning experience for me."
Da Silva is part of the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots team for the 2020 Hero CPL which bowls off August 18.
Da Silva, who is anticipating his first CPL, is hoping the Patriots could have three training sessions before the CPL bowls off. Six TT players are on the Patriots squad including Da Silva, Imran Khan, Rayad Emrit, Evin Lewis, Denesh Ramdin and Jon-Russ Jaggesar.
The wicketkeeper batsman said the quarantine period at Hilton Hotel has been challenging mentally. "For sure (it has been tough). This one especially is a lot tougher than (the quarantine in) England because you can't even leave your room, so it is definitely testing the mental (strength) a lot since being here."
Phillip, a member of the Trinbago Knight Riders for the CPL, said it will be a new experience playing without fans in this year's tournament. The entire tournament will be held in TT and Phillip said with 11 local players in the squad TKR will take advantage of home conditions.
"Most of the guys on the TKR squad are local boys from Trinidad, so definitely we should have it to our advantage."