At age 31 Jamaican batsman Nkrumah Bonner is seeking his first West Indies Test cap and if it comes for the first Test against England starting on July 8 in Southampton, the right-handed middle order batsmen said he will be ready for battle.
He also noted that whether or not Joe Root plays in the first Test, the Windies will still have to bring their “A” game to come out on top.
According to media reports, the England skipper, Root, is set to miss the match, which begins next week Wednesday, for the birth of his second child, with vice-captain Ben Stokes likely to step in.
Asked about Root’s possible absence for the first Test, Bonner said “Joe Root is a great player and has been doing well for them and it is big loss for them but it doesn’t make it easier. It is still Test cricket and you still have to go out there and play our best cricket.”
Meanwhile, Bonner and the rest of the West Indies squad currently in Manchester preparing for the three-Test series, suffered a minor setback yesterday when rained prevented any play on the first day of their final four-day practice match at Old Trafford.
“I think it is what it is. You can’t control the weather. Everyday is an opportunity and today it was lost by the rain,” waxed a philosophical Bonner. But he remains confident in his abilities and believes he is prepared for the challenges of Test cricket thanks to his years on the West Indies first-class circuit.
Bonner scored 523 runs in the this year’s West Indies Championship, with two centuries and two 50’s and he said the regional first-class tournament has toughened him up over the years, having played 69 matches since his debut ten years ago.
“It has been a long road, back and forth, up and down, and I’m grateful I’m here and I am just looking to make the best of it. My last experience was in England, so I know the conditions a little. Going back to 2011, it hasn’t changed much and I’ve gotten a lot of experience in the first-class season as well so I am hoping to use that experience to carry me forward,” Bonner explained.
“Obviously it (the Professional Cricket League) would have benefited me a lot. First-class cricket in the Caribbean is difficult and it poses a lot of challenges and I hope to carry that experience to the Test level,” he said.
“The PCL has done a lot of good for me. It has brought me a lot of pain and a lot of enjoyment as well. You would’ve failed and you would’ve performed and seen where you went wrong and what you need to do to improve that, and that would have trained me to battle against the best from around the world,” Bonner added.
Asked what Windies will have to do to come out on top in England, Bonner said: “Obviously you have to play the ball late; that is the first thing and you have to be a little more patient and rotate the strike as much as possible and I think that will be key.
“I’m not a goal-setter per se but I have a general plan. I don’t want to limit myself but I will go out each and every day and value my innings and do my best. I’m more experienced and a lot more focused this time around,” he continued.
“I think I attribute my success to tactical awareness and mental strength. I think the skill-set was always there. I could always play all the shots in the book, but it’s about working out how you are going to play them and deal with different bowlers. My mental strength and discipline and the calmness at the crease will be key for me,” Bonner ended.