Root’s absence doesn’t make it easier for us- Bonner

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By Akeem Greene

Uncapped batsman Nkrumah Bonner believes the likely absence of England’s captain Joe Root from the first Test will not in any way make it easier for West Indies.

Root is set to miss the Test against West Indies next week to attend the birth of his second child.

The Test begins on July 8 and limits on player movements for the bio-secure matches mean Root will be unable to leave and immediately re-join the squad. Ben Stokes is set to captain England for the first time in Root’s absence.

Apart from his leadership, Root is the team’s best batsman with 7,599 Test runs and 17 centuries, and averages 57.35 in 15 innings against West Indies.

However, Bonner says West Indies will still have to work overtime to produce a favourable result.

“Joe Root is a good player; a great player actually and has being do well for England and it is a big loss for them. It doesn’t make it easier; it is still Test cricket and we have to go out there play our best cricket,” he stated on Monday after rain prevented any play on the opening day of the final practice match.

Since Andrew Strauss retired from cricket in 2012, England have struggled to find a settled opening pair. The issue was further magnified when his former long-time partner, Alastair Cook, played his last Test in 2018; the unsettled top-order is an area West Indies will look to exploit.

“Against any Test team or (in) any cricket game, you look to get early inroads; that is definitely a plan for us.”

The Jamaican, who made five and 24* in the first intra-squad practice game, said the Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League (PCL) has prepared him for the rigours of Test cricket.

This season, Bonner was the Four-Day Championships’ fourth-leading run-scorer with 523 runs, inclusive of two centuries and two fifties. He averaged 58.11, the highest among the top ten leading run-scorers.

“PCL has done a lot of good for me; it has thought me a lot of pain, a lot of enjoyment as well. You would have failed, you would have performed and you would have seen where you have gone wrong and what you need to do to improve; that would have prepared me to battle against the best in the world.”

Bonner, who played two Twenty20 Internationals against England in 2011, said though the current practice match is now reduced to three days, all the players will still look to make the most of the opportunity.

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