England eager to rebound
LONDON – An upbeat England side arrived in the Caribbean at the weekend for a three-Test tour, with captain Alistair Cook confident of making a huge impact against opponents struggling in the game’s longer form.
England exited the recent ICC World Cup without reaching the second round and are now focused on regaining some lost pride in the series which bowls off in Antigua on April 13.
“We’ve got to focus on the exciting thing, which is the next five weeks and the guys who are lucky enough to pull on that shirt, to represent our country and be committed to playing for England,” Cook prior to his departure from Gatwick Airport.
England, ranked No. 3 in the Test rankings, will be expected to roll over West Indies, ranked No. 8.
“We’ve got these 16 guys who are desperate to turn around England cricket,” Cook said. “We need to get back to winning ways.”
Colin Graves, the incoming ECB chairman, said “there will be some enquiries” if England failed to win the series against the West Indies, who he said would be “mediocre” opposition since many of their stars are playing in the Indian Premier League.
Head coach Peter Moores dismissed the suggestion that Graves’ comments added extra pressure, saying: “It doesn’t work like that.
“From my point of view it’s not about the coach – it’s about the players; it’s about winning. I’m going no further: we’ve got five weeks, three Tests. If we play really well, we’ll gain momentum into a big summer (home series against New Zealand and Australia). The focus has to be playing the right sort of cricket.”
Moores, who came under fire following England’s poor run in the World Cup, said he was clear on what England’s objectives would be for this tour.
“For me and Alastair it’s pretty clear. We’ve got some new players coming in and we’ve got Jonathan Trott coming back,” he said.
“We’ve got to make sure that the side moulds quickly. We’ve got a couple of practice games and we go straight into the Test series and we don’t need to go any further than that.”
England will play two warm-up games in St Kitts starting next week before heading into the first Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in St John’s on April 13.
The second Test is scheduled for the Grenada National Stadium from April 21-25 with the final Test set for May 1-5 at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Squad: Alastair Cook (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Balance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Christopher Jordan, Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Mark Wood. (CMC)