England will continue their preparations for this Summer’s Champions Trophy, to be played in England, with a three match ODI series against the West Indies in the Caribbean, the first game taking place at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua on Friday.
Sadly for the West Indies, the series will not form part of Champions Trophy preparation, as they missed out on qualification for the competition, as they were outside the ICC’s top eight ranked sides at the cut off date in September 2015. The first time that they have ever missed out on participating at a global tournament.
England have not looked particularly impressive in their two warm up fixtures, and were lucky to scrape home against the President’s XI by just two wickets, thanks in no short measure to an unbeaten 47 by Chris Woakes.
That game was played on the short of strip, slow and low, and offering additional turn as the game progresses, that has become typical of the Caribbean, and the tourists are likely to encounter similar surfaces for all three ODIs.
England have selection problems at the top of their batting order, with Alex Hales joining the squad, but still on his way back from injury, while Sam Billings failed to make a strong enough case in the warm up matches. The situation possible being confused even further by Jonny Bairstow scoring 86 when opening in the second warm up fixture.
Jake Ball who has been impressive in his short white ball international career, is doubtful for Friday’s series opener. having pulled up in the second warm up game, and the selector have called up Tom Curran of Surrey as cover.
England have won all four of the bilateral series against the West Indies, since the men from the Caribbean were successful 2-1 in England back in 2007.