-Shepherd, DaSilva could be breakout stars in 2021
By Clifton Ross
THE West Indies will be squaring off against the Bangladesh tigers in their first assignment of 2021, next month, and newbies like Joshua DaSilva and Romario Shepherd could be among the Caribbean side’s breakout stars of the New Year. New Zealand was a great learning experience for the young West Indies brigade, who, despite the odds, manageD to give some reasonable accountability during their time in ‘Kiwi land’.
Most of the time spent overseas since the summer was basically trials and learning for the Caribbean Boys, who, like most other players from around the world, just managed to re-adjust their lives after Covid-19 disrupted normalcy around the globe. Now, with all systems on go for the first series of 2021, Bangladesh could present the ideal opportunity for the’ Windies newbies’ to further press their cases and somehow infiltrate the ranks of the starting XI.
One player, in particular, that will be keen on continuing from where left off is Joshua DaSilva, who officially opened his Tests account with a classy 57, which gave his side some hope in the last Test match against New Zealand recently.The Trinidadian is also the first white player to represent the West Indies since Australian-born Brendan Nash and, given his 133 not out and 56 not out during his initial start to Test cricket back in July against England, makes him one of the key placeholders in the middle-order should he maintain his form.
Guyanese Romario Shepherd could also be a beneficiary of a place in the team for the Bangladesh series, having exited the Windies’ A team series versus New Zealand A as one of the leading performers. The hard-hitting all-rounder smashed 133 during the A series, where he played more as a batsman than a bowler, returning just 2 wickets compared to his 232 runs scored from the pair of games.
Having also played a few T20I games and ODI’s, Shepherd has certainly placed his name at the top of the selection pile for the Bangladesh assignment. The Kiwis exploited the Windies mental and physical hurdles, which they were victims of, having a number of their players, if not all, being a part of various Bubbles, dating back to the restart of cricket in July. Both Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul had been under watch during the Kiwis series, with Hetmyer being under concussion watch after being hit during the T20 series. Paul, meanwhile, was recovering from his niggles, thus keeping both Guyanese stars from possibly performing against New Zealand.
But with the New Zealand tour being the final for 2020, Captain Jason Holder recently admitted that his team was mentally exhausted due to life in the ‘Bubble’ and was optimistic that the Xmas holiday season would help the players to refresh themselves ahead of the Bangladesh series. It is likely that the West Indies will certainly field a new-look side, possibly slightly altered with the inclusion of a Shepherd or a returning Shai Hope, or some of the key members from the West Indies A team, who will use this upcoming tour to get their team back on track as they prepare for the 2021 schedule.