West Indies vs England – Series Preview

I love Test cricket in the Caribbean. It just feels right. Glorious sunshine, steel drum music, 2pm starts. After the Ashes, it is a huge improvement.

Since 1974, England have won just one Test series from ten attempts in the West Indies. You would be hard pushed to find many English cricket fans who don’t think that this series will follow this pattern. The hosts might be without such legends as Richards, Holding or Lara, but defeating the current England team hardly requires that level of talent.

Behind the scenes, the England team must be a mess right now. They currently have no head coach, head selector, or even a Director, England Cricket. It’s not immediately clear who’s in charge, or who will still have a job in a month’s time. Paul Collingwood is acting as interim coach, but I don’t have much faith that he can do anything to turn things around. I loved him as a player, but he has been on the England men’s Test team staff for six years now and it would be hard to identify any positive impact he could have had in that time.

Changes have been made on the field as well. Both openers from the Ashes have been dropped, with Zak Crawley and Alex Lees being the latest ones to try their luck. Ben Foakes replaces Jos Buttler, who is currently resting in preparation for the IPL. Malan and Pope have also been left out of the playing squad, meaning that just four batsmen (Crawley, Root, Bairstow and Stokes) survive from England’s disastrous tour down under.

The headlines have all been about Anderson and Broad’s exclusion from the team. I have to say that I don’t really care about this decision for two reasons. The first reason is that I don’t think that it massively alters the chances of England winning this series. If the batsmen struggle to post scores of 300 or more, it doesn’t really matter which bowlers you select. The second reason is that I am, and I realise this is an unpopular viewpoint, a huge proponent of rotation. Keeping every player both physically and mentally fresh is vital in cricket (and every other team sport), not least after the past two years of bubbles and quarantines. To be honest, I’d have also rested Ben Stokes as he is currently considered unfit to bowl. Rotation also gives other bowlers the opportunity to step up and make their own mark.

That said, the signs from the four-day warmup game agains a West Indies President’s XI were not exactly promising. Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood both picked up injuries, although Wood did return to play in the second innings. Despite facing an inexperienced and largely unimpressive batting lineup, England’s bowlers only took 17 wickets in the game. Without Anderson and Broad’s experience, or the injured Jofra Archer’s pace, the signs look ominous for the first Test.

The only real saving grace for England going into this match is that the West Indies aren’t that great a team either. England’s last four Test series have been against the three teams at the top of the ICC’s Test rankings (India, New Zealand and Australia). The West Indies are sitting at number eight. Were I a boorish owner of a convenience store chain, I might even go as far as to call them ‘mediocre’. The truth is that the West Indies are still probably favourites to win this series, so what does that say about England?

If you have any comments on the series, or anything else, leave them below.

17 thoughts on “West Indies vs England – Series Preview

  1. dlpthomas Mar 8, 2022 / 10:45 am

    Just as well you posted the preview, I had forgotten the mtach starts tonight (to be fair I have been slightly distracted by the “rain bomb” exploding over Sydney and the water leaking into my basement)

    As usual I am looking forward to the series and, also as usual, I will probably be in complete despair by about the tea break. HOpefully Foakes will have a good series.

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  2. Marek Mar 8, 2022 / 2:34 pm

    Batting reset going well I see at 17-2…:-)

    Who’d have thought it when they’ve picked two openers with an average in the mid-60s between them!

    Like

    • dlpthomas Mar 8, 2022 / 2:42 pm

      3 – 27 – this is going swimmingly

      Like

  3. StaffordshireKnot Mar 8, 2022 / 6:19 pm

    Despite a somewhat ‘ordinary’ start, at 135-5, ENG might make 200.

    Haven’t heard what the pundits are saying about the pitch – but I read Root said it would break up.

    So, perhaps 200 will be a handy total…….if ENG can achieve it.

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  4. dlpthomas Mar 9, 2022 / 8:13 am

    So a good recovery and a real chance to make over 300. Bairstow is a frustrating cricketer (and he has been mucked around by the selectors) but there is no denying his talent.

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  5. StaffordshireKnot Mar 9, 2022 / 4:10 pm

    Love Chris Woakes – he’s a magnificent cricketer who always delivers…….as long as ENG are at home.

    Who on earth decided that – at the age of 32yrs – he was a viable alternative to Anderson and Broad in West Indies.

    Both he and Overton bowl at 80mph……..6 overs for 34 runs with the new ball, and not even the hint of a threat.

    Who is responsible for these selections? Is it Strauss? I’m getting a bit sick of him……..he’s like the Rob Andrew of cricket – he’s in charge, but never responsible.

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    • dannycricket Mar 9, 2022 / 5:42 pm

      Strauss, Collingwood and Root, in theory. Strauss the more powerful of the three, you’d think.

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  6. Marek Mar 10, 2022 / 10:34 pm

    Random statistic of the day: balls faced by England’s nos 8-11: 105. Balls faced by West Indies nos 8-11: 188 and counting.

    (…although the 28 overs bowled by the part-time seamer gently working his way back from injury so that he doesn’t succumb to another side strain comes a close, not entirely unrelated second…)

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  7. man in a barrel Mar 10, 2022 / 11:55 pm

    Bonner’s innings was very interesting. I watched the last few overs before lunch. He had progressed very slowly. Leach then bowled leg stump with no close field and the batters milked them at 4 per over. Leach had bowled about 20 overs with 10 maidens and had conceded 40 runs. The off stump line was obviously better

    After lunch, Leach bowled at off stump with some catchers and the runrate dried up to 1 per over. Then the quick came along with short stuff and it got tedious.

    At tea, a couple of wickets had fallen but Bonner had made it to 98.

    After tea, Leach resumed to Bonner, with no close fielders, on a leg stump line. After 2 deliveries, Bonner made the century.

    The absence of pressure was an obvious aid.

    Sadly, my immediate thought was of betting. Why did they remove the pressure? Was it tactical naivety? What did the English team discuss over tea?

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  8. Marek Mar 12, 2022 / 5:30 pm

    “It remains unclear when Wood first experienced pain in the elbow. Paul Collingwood, the England interim head coach, said it was a “fresh” injury a couple of days ago, but it is understood Wood had an injection into the elbow ahead of the tour and first became aware of it towards the end of the Australia trip”.

    No reset for the dept of cortisone then…

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    • dlpthomas Mar 13, 2022 / 4:56 am

      If Wood was already carrying an injury then it makes the decision to leave both Broad and Anderson behind even stranger. Wood is unlikely to be fit for the second test so the “attack” is going to be pretty ordinary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Mar 13, 2022 / 12:11 pm

        I’m still not entirely sure who’s decision it was to leave behind Broad and Anderson? It is attributable to Strauss according to the media, but I don’t believe he would have done that without input from Root.

        There is no full time coach or selector because they have all been fired. So this is Roots team as far as I can tell. Why would Strauss make major selection changes when he has to appoint someone to do that job going forward?

        Like most of the decisions of the last two years they have been made by Root in my opinion yet he keeps his job and everyone else gets sacked. The last England captain got to decide the time of his retirement. The ECB seems to have created a job for life role for England captains. Everyone else’s job is there to hide the captain’s incompetence and get fired as a cover.

        Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Mar 14, 2022 / 9:50 am

      Speakingof the department of cortisone, Stokes bowled 41 overs for the game. I thought he was going to be eased back into bowling.

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  9. dlpthomas Mar 13, 2022 / 1:57 pm

    The job of England captain is certainly a lot more secure than it was in 1988

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    • dlpthomas Mar 13, 2022 / 1:57 pm

      Sorry, that was meant to be a reply to Mark

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    • Mark. Mar 13, 2022 / 2:33 pm

      Absolutely. As ever things go from one extreme to another. So we went from England test captains holding onto their jobs on an almost series to series basis to now where it’s almost impossible to get fired from.

      The England captain has become more like a public relations ambassador role for the ECB.

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  10. man in a barrel Mar 14, 2022 / 9:42 am

    “The England captain has become more like a public relations ambassador role for the ECB”

    The last two incumbents were pretty poor at public relations. ECB cannot even get that right. Compare Root and Cook with, say Kane W, Brendon MC, Jason Holder, even Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Tim Paine…………..

    Like

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