ODI series Preview: West Indies v England
The West Indies welcome England for a brief but important ODI series as the jam packed 2016/17 season winds towards its conclusion.
As the ODI rankings stand right now the West Indies will have to play in the ICC World Cup qualifying tournament in order to gain access to the ten team 2019 World Cup.
The hosts will be eager to get their fifty over cricket back on track, since this time last year they have played 14 ODIs winning 4, losing nine and playing out a tie against struggling Zimbabwe.
By contrast during the same period England Have lost just four of the 16 ODIs they have contested while establishing an exciting new brand of ODI cricket under the leadership of Eoin Morgan.
The tourists will be using this series as a tune-up ahead of the Champions trophy while also testing the depth of their bowling.
England’s batting power is their great strength and with injuries impacting their bowling strength they will look to their batsmen to win games for them.
Morgan’s team is packed full of match winners with Alex Hales, the owner of England’s highest ODI score, returning from injury to partner the dynamic Jason Roy up at the top of the order.
In the middle order England are spoiled for choice with Test skipper Joe Root providing the class while Sam Billings has shown a great deal of ability to improvise and keep the board ticking over and then come the big hitters like Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow as well as lower order allrounder Chris Woakes.
Woakes will also be tasked with leading the England attack having firmly established himself in the XI across all formats and in the absence of Mark Wood, David Willey and Jake Ball who are all injured.
Tom Curran could earn his England debut having been summoned from the England Lions tour of Sri Lanka.
The West Indies chose to snub problematic veteran Marlon Samuels sparking yet another social media row as he hit out at the WICB over its policies.
The hosts have named a squad with only two batsmen who average over 30 in ODI cricket and that duo, Evin Lewis and Shai Hope, have registered less than ten matches in ODIs.
Hope and Lewis scored hundreds in the disastrous Triangular series in Zimbabwe that saw the West Indies fail to make the final in a series that also involved Sri Lanka but neither batsman has managed to get past fifty.
Batting fragility has been a serious problem for the West Indies as they seek to rebuild their squad after the retirement of Chris Gayle from ODIs and the axing of veterans deemed troublesome.
The Windies’ bowlers have shown promise but have seldom had much to work with and will have to play out of their skins if the batsmen don’t find some form.
Even at home it is hard to see the West Indies finding enough quality over the course of 100 overs to sneak even one win in this series.
For the hosts Evin Lewis looks set to be the key man with the willow, he has shown the ability to play big innings in fifty over cricket something the West Indies will desperately need.
England have plenty of quality with the bat easing the pressure on their star men but it has fallen to Morgan to lead from the front when his men have found themselves in trouble, something he has done with aplomb.
Without Sunil Narine the West Indies will look to leggie Devendra Bishoo to tie down the English and prevent their powerful middle-order from making merry.
Woakes will be England’s leader with the ball having enough pace to trouble batsmen on all but the slowest of pitches.
West Indies ODI squad: Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.
England Squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Fri Mar 3 1st ODI West Indies v England Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. Start 09:30 local Time (13:30 GMT)
Sun Mar 5 2nd ODI West Indies v England Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua. Start 09:30 local Time (13:30 GMT)
Thu Mar 9 3rd ODI West Indies v England Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados Start 09:30 local Time (13:30 GMT)
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