London, England – Nkrumah Bonner set foot on the historic Kia Oval cricket ground for the first time on Wednesday and immediately felt a difference. The 22-year-old dreamed all his life of one day having the opportunity to play at one of the game’s most historic venues and even though it was just a training session, he could feel the occasion.
The leg-spinning allrounder is on his first senior West Indies tour and joined team-mates for Tuesday’s afternoon training session as the Windies got down to the business of preparing for the two Twenty20 Internationals against England. The visitors had a full session in the nets and also did fielding drills under lights.
The two matches will be played on Friday at 6.15 pm (1.15 pm Eastern Caribbean Time/12.15 Jamaica Time) and Sunday at 6.30 pm (1.30 pm Eastern Caribbean Time/12.30 pm Jamaica Time).
"When I got off the bus I stopped and looked around to try to get accustomed to the atmosphere. I went into the dressing room and saw the pictures and looked at some of the autographs of the greats who have played here. It’s exciting to be here at The Oval and great to be representing the West Indies. As a youth growing up I heard a lot about The Oval and Lord’s and other great grounds around the world so it’s a special feeling to be here representing the West Indies," the Jamaican said.
"You could feel the atmosphere around the ground. There was a lot of activity going on and you could feel the preparations for a ‘big match’. It felt like a step up from the regional level and it let me know that this is the international stage. I totally enjoyed my first day in the nets and I’m looking forward to the two matches against England. I hit the ball crisply today and I was able to get the pace of the pitches, so I believe I am in good form. It was also good to get in the fielding session. The outfield here is quite fast so I have a good idea of what to expect on match-day," the Windies Number 89 said.
Bonner is a member of the Sagicor High Performance Centre, who are presently on a six-match tour of Dubai. After the two matches this weekend he will join the Sagicor HPC tour. He has been one of the stand-out students at the Sagicor HPC and also plays for Combined Campuses and Colleges in the WICB 4 day Tournament.
In his short career so far Bonner has played 11 First Class matches, five regional 50 Over matches and four games in the Caribbean Twenty20. He was a member of the the West Indies Under 19 to the Under 19 World Cup back in 2008. He explained his approach to the game and outlined that preparation is the key.
"I have a passion for cricket. I would say I am a student of the game. I see myself as a hardworker. I simply enjoy playing cricket and I am happy to get this opportunity. I has come a bit earlier in my career than I expected but my aim is to make the most of this chance. I believe in preparation. I know that if I put in the hard work in the nets it makes the job in the middle a lot easier so I always look to work hard on the training ground and I have been getting some rewards in the matches," Bonner said.
The West Indies will have another training session at The Kia Oval on Thursday at 1.30 pm.
West Indies Twenty20 Squad: Darren Sammy (Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Miles Bascombe, Devendra Bishoo, Nkrumah Bonner, Johnson Charles, Derwin Christian (Wicketkeeper), Fidel Edwards, Danza Hyatt, Garey Mathurin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Dwayne Smith
Team Management: Ottis Gibson (Head Coach), Richie Richardson (Team Manager), Henderson Springer (Assistant Coach), Desmond Haynes (Batting Consultant), C.J Clark (Physiotherapist), Hector Martinez Charles (Strength and Conditioning Co-ordinator), Richard Berridge (Video and Statistical Analyst), Philip Spooner (Media Manager), Virgil Browne (Massage Therapist)