Roseau, Dominica — Shane Shillingford is set to create history today when he becomes the first Dominican to play a Test match on home soil.
The tall off-spinner bowled well against the Australians on his comeback to international cricket in Trinidad last week and is expected to retain his place in the team for the all-important third and final Digicel Test at his home ground.
First ball today is 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).
The picturesque Windsor Park hosted its first One-Day International back in 2009 and Test cricket came to the island for the first time last year.
Shillingford missed that match, when the West Indies played to a hard-fought draw against India, but he is now eager to take the field and perform in front his family, friends and countrymen.
Shillingford is only the fifth Dominican to play Test cricket. The others were the late Grayson Shillingford, as well as Irving Shillingford, Norbert Phillip and Adam Stanford. One other player born in Dominica, Philip DeFreitas, played Test cricket for England.
“I’m looking forward to the chance of playing at home, being the first one to play a Test from Dominica in Dominica. It’s a very special feeling. I’m pretty much looking forward to that. I know the Dominican people will be coming out in big numbers to give their support,” Shillingford said.
“I’m confident coming on from the game in Trinidad, even more so knowing my family, my fans are coming out to support, so I really want to do well and we come out with a victory to level the series.
“Most of our players have played here a number of times already and seeing for the Australians this is their first time, the environment, first time being here, playing here, so I think it’s a bit of an edge for us. But we do have to do the basics to come out with a win.” Shillingford toiled hard on the Queen’s Park Oval pitch in Trinidad and came away with some reward, as the two teams played to a draw as rain washed away hopes of an outright result. He had the impressive figures of 49-17-92-3 in the first innings and took the new ball in the second innings and had returns of 23.5-4-55-1.
Shillingford, who made his Test debut back in 2010 against South Africa at the Queen’s Park Oval, said he much enjoyed bowling on the surface in Trinidad, but expects the pitch “at home” to be somewhat different.
“Most of the time I try to bowl and build pressure. In the second innings in Trinidad I was happy to use the new ball and try my variations. As you saw, we were trying to get early wickets to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” the 29-year-old outlined.