Aged 32 and 28, West Indies cricketers Nkrumah Bonner and Kyle Mayers have served lengthy domestic apprenticeships before earning Test recognition. The long wait may have actually served them well though.
Whilst still a small sample size, both players have made hugely encouraging starts to their Test careers. Bonner has backed up innings of 86 and 90 against Bangladesh with a ton against Sri Lanka. Meanwhile Mayers gave himself plenty to live upto after registering an epic double-century against Bangladesh on Test debut. After a quiet follow up, he’s made forties and fifties against Sri Lanka. Having the added string to his bow of being an effective bowler, also enhances his value to the team.
The duo came into the side when numerous players opted not to tour due to COVID. It’s worth remembering that some parts of the West Indies had next to no COVID cases but some players and their families had been directly affected.
Does it reflect badly on the West Indies selectors that Bonner and Mayers have started so well despite only making the team because of dropouts?
It’s important to remember that had the pair been selected sooner, they may have failed and never got another chance. It may be that being left alone on the domestic circuit, allowed them to iron out their flaws and learn their own game inside out.
The players who for one reason or another aren’t in the team, have all made cases for being so and it may be that when they earned the call, Bonner and Mayers just didn’t merit selection.
Neither have outstanding first class stats (NB 29.10/KM 32.88). Sharmah Brooks was one who opted out but to be fair, he’d started encouragingly before tailing off. Shai Hope’s ODI performances and Test nirvana at Headingley (As well as occasional wicketkeeping) mean it’s understandable that the selections persisted with him. Darren Bravo has proven himself to be a top player and again, it’s understandable that after a lengthy absence, the West Indies panel wanted him involved. You could go as far back as Kyle Hope, who struggled in England and whose domestic record is average but isn’t dissimilar to Bonner and Mayers. However he’d performed consistently well for West Indies A and looked ready to make the step up.
The likes of Mike Hussey had to wait for international honours whilst Misbah-ul-Haq did too then went on and on. There are no guarantees for Bonner and Mayers. A couple of quiet matches and they could be out… for good! Their time served prior to winning Test recognition may have set them up well however to produce decent Test careers.