Bet­ter late than never

Est­wick backs Bon­ner de­spite Test call-up at 31 years old

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

WINDIES AS­SIS­TANT coach Roddy Est­wick be­lieves un­capped Nkrumah Bon­ner can still make an im­pact in the Test arena, de­spite his be­lated call-up at age 31.

The Ja­maican bats­man has been in­cluded in the 14-man Test squad to face Eng­land in next month’s three-Test se­ries.

Est­wick said Bon­ner had de­served his place in the squad and it was now up to the right-han­der to lever­age the op­por­tu­nity handed him.

“He’s worked hard to get here. At 31, you look back at the num­ber of play­ers who made their Test ca­reers in the 30s,” Est­wick told re­porters.

“… so we’re en­cour­ag­ing him and say­ing ‘look, all is not lost, you’ve been given a great op­por­tu­nity, you’ve just got to con­tinue to work hard, con­tinue to stay dis­ci­plined and con­tinue to do the things you’ve been do­ing for the last two years’.

“Over the last two years he’s av­er­aged 40-odd – he av­er­aged 50-odd this year – so ob­vi­ously he’s in some kind of form.

“Some peo­ple tend to ma­ture a lit­tle later and he seems to have done that, and at the mo­ment in the nets we’re see­ing a player who is will­ing to knuckle down and get ac­cus­tomed to the con­di­tions in Eng­land and ob­vi­ously stake a claim for a Test play. “He’s got the op­por­tu­nity and it’s up to him to grab it with both hands.”

Bon­ner played a cou­ple of Twenty20 In­ter­na­tion­als for the Windies eight years ago but was never con­sid­ered for the longer for­mat.


In the re­cent first-class sea­son in the Car­ib­bean, how­ever, he carved out over 500 runs at an av­er­age of 58 with two hun­dreds for his na­tive Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons, to get the at­ten­tion of selec­tors.

The pre­vi­ous sea­son he was lim­ited to just four in­nings but still man­aged two half-cen­turies and an av­er­age of 44.

Bon­ner is a prod­uct of the West Indies youth sys­tem, hav­ing rep­re­sented the re­gion at the ICC Un­der-19 World Cup in Malaysia.

Est­wick said de­spite his age, it was im­por­tant Bon­ner used his call-up to gain pre­cious in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Bon­ner has been around for a while. He was in the [High Per­for­mance Cen­tre] with Ja­son Holder back in 2012 or there­abouts,” Est­wick ex­plained.

“He had a very good first-class sea­son … and ob­vi­ously, the selec­tors are re­ward­ing peo­ple who have done well, and Bon­ner has been given this op­por­tu­nity and hope­fully he can con­tinue to work.

“He’s 31 but he still needs to gain ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tinue to work.”

Bon­ner is one of two un­capped play­ers in the West Indies squad, with fast bowler Che­mar Holder also named in the unit.

The Windies take on Eng­land in the first Test at the Ageas Bowl start­ing July 8. The sec­ond Test will be played at Old Traf­ford here in Manchester be­gin­ning July 16, with the third Test carded for the same venue eight days later.


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