With South Africa having now left British shores, cricketing attention now turns to the forthcoming test series against the West Indies. The first test starts on Thursday and is to be a landmark test as Edgbaston will host the first day/night test match in England. Hopefully the summer weather will significantly improve in the coming few days!
England go into the series as favourites and will be confident on the back of a dominating series win against the Proteas. The West Indies arrive having won just one of their last twelve test series dating back to the winter of 2012/13, with a 2-0 series win against Bangladesh in 2014 being their sole success.
It has been well documented that the West Indies have had plenty of issues to contend with in this time. However, in their most recent last two series, they have been narrowly beaten 2-1 by Pakistan. The last series between these two sides came two years ago in the Caribbean and was drawn 1-1.
As a big fan of Caribbean cricket, I am desperately hoping that the West Indies will once again return to be the cricketing powerhouse of bygone days. It is true that they have some way to go, I feel that there are some green shoots of recovery starting to appear.
Captain Jason Holder will be hoping that his charges will continue to develop and learn on this tour. He himself has a decent test record, averaging 30 with the bat with a century to his name, alongside 41 test wickets to date.
Wicketkeeper batsman Shai Hope will be hoping to make his mark on the series and has been in decent form so far on the trip, getting starts in all four of his innings so far. He has talent and I am excited to see how he goes on this tour.
Roston Chase has enjoyed an excellent start to his test career. In just 10 matches, he has already notched 3 fifties and 3 centuries and a lot will be expected of him during the series. He is also a capable off spin bowler, with a 5for already to his name in tests.
The seam bowlers have plenty of experience in Kemar Roach, returning to the squad and hoping to play his first test match since January 2016. On his day he is an excellent bowler, with genuine pace and has already bagged a 5for on his trip against County Championship leaders Essex. Shannon Gabriel too is a quick bowler who has 62 test wickets to his name already.
I am particularly looking forward to seeing 20 year old Alzarri Joseph in this series. Antigua born Joseph impressed against Kent in the warm up games, taking 4 wickets and has taken 15 wickets in his 5 tests to date. I feel that he could definitely be a handful in English conditions. West Indies fast bowlers of the past have talked very positively about him and I’m excited to seeing what he can produce in this series.
England have made several changes to their squad for the forthcoming series.
Perhaps predictably, opener Keaton Jennings has been sent back to his county in an attempt to gain form ahead of this winter’s Ashes series. Surrey’s Mark Stoneman has been called in to replace him and he will desperate to continue his good form in the domestic game during the series.
Leg spinner Mason Crane has gained his first test call up and it will be interesting to see how he goes. Shane Warne has heaped praise on Crane in the past and he performed admirably in the recent T20I series against South Africa. Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid can perhaps feel a little disappointed not to be included in the squad, but Crane now has a real chance to stake his claim to go to Australia.
England are strong favourites for the series. A West Indies team with some up and coming talent will provide an interesting test. I feel that it is disrespectful to suggest that this series will be a walkover for England and I’m looking forward to seeing what the men from the Caribbean can produce.
England v West Indies always provides some interesting and entertaining cricket. This series should be the same.
Let’s hope for some good weather!
- 1st Test : Edgbaston (17-21 August)
- 2nd Test : Headingley (25-29 August)
- 3rd Test : Lord’s (7-11 September)
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