Jamaican Nkrumah Bonner gets maiden call-up to West Indies Test squad
Jamaican all-rounder Nkrumah Bonner.
Jamaican allrounder Nkrumah Bonner has won his first Test call-up on Wednesday as West Indies announced their 14-man squad for the three-match closed-door Test series against England starting on July 8.
The 31-year-old has played in 69 first-class games, scoring 3321 runs. Bonner was also in prime form in West Indies' four-day championship last season, ending up with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11. He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.
Bonner is also a useful leg-spinner, having bagged 45 scalps in first-class cricket.
Chemar Holder of Barbados also received his first Test call-up.
The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each. He was also a member West Indies team that won the 2016 Under 19 World Cup.
There are two other Jamaicans named in the 14-man squad. They are Jermaine Blackwood and John Campbell.
Middle-order batsman Blackwood earned a recall. He wasn't included in the squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan last year.
Two other Jamaicans - Oshane Thomas and Marquino Mindley - are named among the 11 reserve players.
Meanwhile, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul have declined an invitation to be part of the tour.
All three Tests will be played behind closed doors and in bio-secure bubbles at both the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford as English cricket seeks to resume following a delayed start to the season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 25-man touring party will fly to England on June 8 on private charters, after being tested for Covid-19, and will spend three weeks staying at Emirates Old Trafford quarantining and training on arrival. They will then travel to the Ageas Bowl to train ahead of the first Test, before returning to Old Trafford for the second and third Tests.
Roger Harper, CWI’s Lead Selector said: “The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatised and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer, which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket.
“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them, and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers. The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly.
"I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”
Harper added: “Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England.
"Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well. Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency, which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.
“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year. The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”
West Indies squad to tour England: Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder (captain), Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach
Reserve players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.
PROPOSED MATCH SCHEDULE:
July 8-12: 1st Test at Ageas Bowl, Southampton
July 16-20: 2nd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
July 24-28: 3rd Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester