WEST Indies wicket-keeper batsman Joshua Da Silva said he has "peace of mind" after receiving his first red-ball (Test cricket) contract by Cricket West Indies (CWI).
Da Silva, 22, burst onto the scene for West Indies with a knock of 57 on his Test debut against New Zealand in December. He was one of eight players to get a red-ball contract.
According to a CWI media release, on Wednesday, 18 players have been offered contracts for the upcoming season which runs from July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022.
For the first time, the TT pair of Da Silva and Akeal Hosein has been awarded international retainer contracts, along with Jamaican Nkrumah Bonner and Barbadian Kyle Mayers.
Bonner and Mayers have been given red-ball contracts along with Da Silva and Hosein received a white-ball (50-Over/T20) contract.
In an interview with Newsday, on Wednesday, Da Silva said, "I am very honoured to get a contract. It is a step in the right direction (and it shows) I am doing something right. It is just to continue doing what I am doing – scoring runs – hopefully, it is the first of many years that I have it. It is just to continue working hard and doing the right things and be consistent for the team."
Da Silva has taken Shane Dowrich's spot for the last two Test series and performed creditably. The right-hander has scored two centuries at an average of 37.63 in five Test matches.
Da Silva said the contract has given him a sense of calmness. "Definitely a peace of mind knowing that they have given me a contract...so it is just about me returning the favour with performances and getting the job done when needed for the team."
Newly-appointed Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo received international contracts for red-ball and white-ball cricket respectively.
Several players were not offered contracts for the upcoming year. Roston Chase, who was dropped for the recent home series against Sri Lanka, lost his all-format retainer and is without a contract.
Shamarh Brooks and Dowrich no longer have red-ball contracts.
Eight players lost their white-ball contracts, including Sunil Ambris, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd and Oshane Thomas.
All players who are no longer on international retainer contracts are offered an A-grade regional franchise contract for the following year.
West Indies lead selector Roger Harper said the number of players retained for the upcoming year is four less than last year.
Harper told CWI media, “There are several new players offered red-ball contracts earned by their strong performances during the last period. A number of players were not retained because they did not meet the minimum requirements.”
The evaluation period for the 2021/2022 contracts covered performances and statistics from April 1, 2020, to April 1, 2021 (this was also supported by statistics from the previous 2019-2020 evaluation period). This allows for all players to be appraised immediately after the evaluation period and provides a notice period before new contracts on July 1, 2021.
CWI director of cricket, Jimmy Adams said, “I am happy for all the players who have been offered retainer contracts for the upcoming period. Especially pleasing was the number of players who were awarded first-time contracts in recognition of their performances during the period under review.”
Adams believes that the players who no longer have contracts will be hungry to get back their spots. “I know that the 11 players who have lost their international retainers will be striving and fighting hard to get back into the teams and earn their central contracts back next year. These players, along with our T20 specialists, will ensure that we have genuine competition for places that will push everyone to attain higher standards of performance.”
Players retained by Cricket West Indies
All-format contracts: Jason Holder.
Red-ball contracts: Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kyle Mayers, Kemar Roach.
White-ball contracts: Kieron Pollard, Fabien Allen, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Alzarri Joseph, Nicholas Pooran, Hayden Walsh Jr