Bridgetown - England enter the home stretch of Cricket World Cup preparation with a
five-match one-day international (ODI) series beginning on Wednesday at the
Kensington Oval against a West Indies team seeking to feed off the
success of their Test side.
Fresh from a surprising 2-1 triumph in the Wisden Trophy duel, Jason
Holder leads a Caribbean team which continues to struggle in the 50-over
format and is hampered by the absence of key players for a variety of
In contrast, Eoin Morgan's England settled squad have powered to the
top of the world rankings and a comfortable 171-run victory in their
lone warm-up fixture on Sunday suggests that they will not be hamstrung
by the challenges encountered by the Test team against surprisingly
competitive and fiercely motivated opponents.
Opening batsman Jason Roy and Test skipper Joe Root both stroked
fluent hundreds in a total of 371 for seven, while all the bowlers used
enjoyed a measure of success against the West Indies Vice-Chancellor's
XI with opening bowlers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, together with
leg-spinner Adil Rashid, taking two wickets each.
While the memory of a 381-run thrashing in the first match of the
three-Test series less than a month ago is painfully fresh, England's
last ODI at Kensington Oval two years ago was a 186-run rout which
completed a 3-0 sweep of a home outfit in complete disarray.
West Indies results have not improved significantly since that
humbling, with the former champions missing out on the 2017 Champions
Trophy and scraping through last year's qualifying tournament in
Zimbabwe to advance to the World Cup in England and Wales, which starts
on May 30.
Already without mystery spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Andre
Russell, West Indies have been forced to amend their original squad for
the first two ODIs with injuries ruling out opening batsman Evin Lewis
and all-rounders Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul.
who made a bright start to his Test career in the three matches against
the English, looks set for an ODI debut opening the batting with Chris
On Sunday, the 39-year-old veteran of four World Cups revealed that
the 2019 event will be his farewell to the format, although he
entertains hopes of representing the region at the end of 2020 when the
West Indies will be defending the World T20 title in Australia.
"Yes I'm looking to draw the line after the World Cup," said the big-hitting left-hander and former captain.
"I'll let the youngsters have some fun and I can sit back in the
party stand and watch them have some fun. Winning the World Cup would be
a fairytale finish."
T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite and left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell are
the recent inclusions in the West Indies squad along with Campbell,
while the regional selectors also have to contend with the
unavailability of Shannon Gabriel until the final match after the fast
bowler was slapped with a four-match ban after admitting to uttering a
homophobic slur at Root during the third and final Test in St Lucia a
England are spared such challenges but will be acutely aware of the
embarrassing reversals suffered by their Test team against opposition
which was lightly-regarded before the first ball was bowled on this tour
at Kensington Oval last month.
West Indies (probable): Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, John
Campbell, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope (wicketkeeper), Shimron Hetmyer,
Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow
(wicketkeeper), Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam
Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood