Nkrumah Bonner has been selected to make his Test debut for the West Indies for their whistlestop three Test tour of England next month, when they compete for the Wisden Trophy.
The 31-year-old Jamaican all-rounder has been rewarded for being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship after amassing 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11. He represented the Windies in two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012, but until now had been overlooked at Test level.
But Windies captain Jason Holder will miss three keys players with the pair of left-handed batmen Darren Bravo (Trinidad & Tobago) and Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana) as well as fast-medium pacer Keemo Paul (Guyana) turning down the chance to play.
There is good news for Holder with Bonner and fast bowler Chemar Holder, who is not related to the skipper despite being from the same island of Barbados, each given the nod to claim their inaugural Test call-up. The Windies are aiming to retain the Wisden Trophy that they won 2-1 on Caribbean soil last year.
Plans are in place to play in bio-secure environments, behind closed doors, in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has been rife in England.
Cricket West Windies (CWI) are set to test their 25-player touring party and contingent for the cornonavirus this week, with chartered planes scheduled to leave for England on 8 June.
It is believed that CWI are expecting the coronavirus test results for their travelling players to be back by Friday (5 June) from Miami, USA. And they have named 11 reserve players, as anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will not be taking a charter flight.
Notable players in the 14-strong Test squad include fearless middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood (Jamaica) and tricky left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer (Barbados).
Yet the Test series still required needs final approval from the UK government, and if given the green light will mark the resumption of international cricket that was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This proposed seven-week trip to England begins on 9 June with a stay, on arrival, at Lancashire’s Old Trafford headquarters in Manchester for quarantining and training.
Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl in Southampton is the venue for first Test (8-12 July), before the CWI contingent return to Manchester for the second and third Tests (16-20 July and 24-28 July respectively) if international cricket resumes.
CWI issued a statement that read: “Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined the invitation to travel to England for the tour, and CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so.
“The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.
“Being in England and working together 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.”
Windies squad for England tour
Test squad – Jason Holder, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shemarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Chemar Holder, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.
Reserves – Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.
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