McKenzie’s Test debut makes family beam with pride
Since he was six years old, Kirk McKenzie told his father that cricket would be his career. Fast-forward to Thursday, and young McKenzie certainly fulfilled that dream, as he was presented with the 334th West Indies Test cap as they currently take on India in the historic 100th Test between both countries at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago.
Kirk McKenzie Sr was beaming with pride as he watched from Jamaica as his son walked out with West Indies to take the field, and the elder McKenzie was humbled when asked how he felt about his son representing the West Indies in Test cricket.
"I am really happy for him, and I told him a long time before that I am already proud of him, and everything that comes after this is a bonus. I know it is a joyous feeling for him based on all the hard work he has put in," the senior McKenzie said.
That hard work came about after young McKenzie was dropped from Jamaica's four-day team at the regional championship earlier this year, and the left-hander turned over a new leaf and found the kind of form that got the regional selectors talking.
McKenzie averaged only 18 from three first-class matches for Jamaica Scorpions during the recent first-class season but turned things around in the Headley-Weekes Tri-Series with a sensational first-class double hundred in April.
The Portmore resident followed that up with two high-quality half-centuries in the West Indies' A four-day 'Tests' away to Bangladesh A the following month.
Kirk McKenzie Sr says those qualities were always there from the early days.
"His success is a family affair because even when his mom was pregnant with his little brother, and I was at work, she would sit on the chair and bowl to him as the walkway was our cricket pitch," McKenzie Sr said.
Cricket is certainly in the family as Kirk's younger brother Nikoli captained Jamaica's under-15 in the recent regional tournament, while his older brother Stephen also played.
Such is cricket in the McKenzie family. Kirk's middle name Sanjay was derived from former India player Sanjay Manjrekar as well as his other name Alex, which was taken from former England wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Stewart.
The former Naggo Head Primary, St George's College and Excelsior player was destined for great things after learning the rudiments of the game from an early age.
"We used to make him carry the water, score the book, mark the pitch, and when he did all those things without complaining, we knew he really loved the game," McKenzie Sr said.
McKenzie is set to bat No. 3 when the West Indies get their turn at the crease.