New Zealand v West Indies Tests - Men's
Da Silva’s journey to West Indies Test cap
The wicketkeeper-batsman becomes the first Caribbean-born white West Indian to play Test cricket in almost 50 years after replacing Shane Dowrich
11 December 2020, 09:56 AM AEST
West Indies batsman Joshua Da Silva laughs when he recalls the reaction he got on his first trip to England three years ago.
“When I came to England in 2017, people were like, ‘We weren’t expecting you’,” he told the Caribbean Cricket Podcast this year.
“It was quite funny, I just laughed at it.
“I get asked a lot, ‘Are you really from the West Indies?’.”
With Da Silva making his Test debut against New Zealand in Wellington this week, he becomes the first Caribbean-born white West Indian to play Test cricket since Geoff Greenidge in 1973.
Da Silva, from Trinidad, is of Portuguese background, his family hailing from the island of Madeira, birthplace of football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Australian cricketer Moises Henriques.
Da Silva’s mother was born in Canada, as was his paternal grandmother, while his father was born in Trinidad, but his family roots stretch back to the migration of Madeirenses to the Caribbean and North America in the 19th and 20th centuries.
For Da Silva, having white skin in a country where the majority of people are of Indian or African background has never been an issue.
“Growing up, I never really felt like it was a problem or anything,” he says. “It was more politics in cricket, than anything, at the youth level.
“I’ve never been anything, just being a white West Indian.”
On his second cricket tour of the UK earlier this year, it was Da Silva’s batting that was the major talking point.
Having unseated former Test skipper Denesh Ramdin as Trinidad & Tobago’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman, the 22-year-old won a reserve spot in the Windies’ touring party and starred in the second of their intra-squad warm-ups, scoring an unbeaten 133 and then 56 not out as an opener.
And with regular Test gloveman Shane Dowrich heading home from the NZ tour for personal reasons, the path cleared for Da Silva to step in and make his Test debut.