“Last year is last year and we’re here to try again” – Sinclair ready to roll, Da Silva aims to do better

West Indies wicketkeeper batman Joshua Da Silva insists his team’s horror recent record in Australia must be left behind, hopeful new blood can provide a spark for the tourists.

With Brian Lara acting as a mentor in the nets, West Indies players ramped up their preparations for the Frank Worrell Trophy series at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Da Silva, who scored a century in a warm-up match against an inexperienced Cricket Australia XI last week, insists the fresh faces can be a positive.

“Last year is last year and we’re here to try again,” Da Silva said.

“We have a few new faces, so we are going to have a bit of new blood coming in. It’s going to be exciting.

“Everybody’s really keen. Seven uncapped players. If they haven’t gotten a taste, they’re really raring to go get a taste of it. So the mood in the camp is great.”

The situation is nothing new for the men from the Caribbean, who have averaged one debutant every two Tests in the past five years.

At least three more will come on day one of the first Test on Wednesday, with Kavem Hodge and Justin Greaves likely to make up the middle order and Shamar Joseph an exciting quick.

The tourists have not beaten Australia in a Test in almost 21 years, while their last victory in Australia came in Perth in 1997.

And while the Test game once suffered during a time when the white-ball team fired, West Indies failed to even qualify for last year’s ODI World Cup.

Players are asked about returning to the heights of the team’s wonder years almost every time they speak, but no resurgence appears in sight.

“That’s always a goal,” Da Silva said.

“We talk about it every day, about getting back to those days.

“But it’s a new era now. And we’re just looking forward to making our own brand and playing that brand of cricket.”

There do remain some hallmarks of the West Indies teams of past, with Lara employed as a full-time mentor last February.

Former quick Kenny Benjamin is an assistant to coach Stuart Coley, while Carl Hooper is part of the white-ball set up.

“The knowledge (Lara) has is second to none,” Da Silva said.

“What he’s done for the game, what he’s done for West Indies cricket on its own. His presence alone speaks for itself.

“Because he’s had so much experience, I think everybody can learn from him.”

Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair said he was ready to grab his chance after he pushed his case for a maiden Test cap for West Indies with a tidy spell in the closing stages of their three-day practice match against the Cricket Australia XI on Friday.

The 24-year-old Guyanese claimed three for 38 from 12 overs before the two teams agreed to end the match half-hour before the scheduled close at Karen Rolton Oval, with the CA XI on 149 for five in their second innings, still 243 in arrears.

Meantime, Sinclair is one of seven uncapped players in the squad battling for a place in the Test 11 for the upcoming Frank Worrell Trophy series against hosts and world champions Australia.

“It was good to be among the wickets once again,” he told reporters after play. “The match was good practice and good preparation for us leading into the first Test. I did not get much batting, but to be honest, I got what I wanted out of this match.

“There was a bit in the pitch for the spinners, and I just tried to hit the good areas, bring the batsman forward, and challenge their defence as much as possible.

“I am always up and ready. Once my name is called, I am always ready to deliver the goods for my team and give it my all on the field.”

After tidy opening spells from the pacers, Sinclair got an extended spell and responded with the wickets of the opening pair of Tim Ward and Jayden Goodwin after they shared 76 for the first wicket.

He added the scalp of Teague Wyllie with all three of his wickets taken with close-to-the-wicket catches to ease worries about the fielding – but the CA XI held firm for 39 overs to ensure the match ended in the inevitable draw.

“It will mean a lot to me to play a Test against Australia – and to my supporters back home, especially my grandfather,” Sinclair said. “He has been there with me from day one, so it will mean a lot, a lot, a lot.”

Sinclair said he had modelled his action after Barbados and West Indies part-time off-spinner Roston Chase, but he was looking forward to getting the chance to play against another off-spinner that he has admired for a long time.

“Also Nathan Lyon because he bowls off-spin,” he said. “If I got the chance to go up against Nathan Lyon, it would be a good opportunity.

“I have never met him, so I am looking forward to rubbing shoulders with him, and if I got the chance to play against him, it will be great, and a dream come true.”

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