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England going throttle England going full throttle


England going throttle England going full throttle

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A MEMBER OF the ground staff helping to get the square ready.


by EZRA STUART [email protected]

FAVOURITES but not foolhardy.

England’s captain Eoin Morgan made it clear that despite being the No. 1 ranked side in the world and favoured to win the five-match Colonial Insurance One-Day International series starting at Kensington Oval today, they won’t be underestimating the lowly West Indies.

The visitors have won their last nine ODIs against the West Indies and have a better overall record with 49 wins against 42 defeats and five no-results in 96 matches.

But Morgan said that playing in the Caribbean, where they have won just three of nine ODI series while losing five and drawing the other, is never an easy assignment.

“We don’t mind the tag of favourites . . . . It doesn’t really mean anything. You still have to produce to be rewarded. Everybody expects us to win but the manner it will play out will be different from what people expect,” Morgan noted.

Very strong

“We got beaten by Scotland last year and they are ranked lower than West Indies. Any side can be a threat on the day. West Indies are very strong at the moment and we’re not taking them lightly,” cautioned Morgan, England’s highest run-scorer in ODI cricket, with 5813 runs at an average GETTING READY: West Indies batsman Darren Bravo pulling in the nets at Kensington Oval yesterday.

(Pictures by Kenmore Bynoe.)

of 39.01 in 189 matches.

Morgan said there is also the challenge of playing on slower surfaces, which don’t always allow the free-scoring England batsmen like Test captain Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Jos Buttler to play an expansive game.

He recalled his experiences playing for the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League.

Uneven pitch

“I played here last year for Barbados and the pitch was quite uneven and steep bouncing. It offered some turn, too, and the wind plays a big part. So it will be a tough challenge and everybody in our changing room knows that. It’s not an easy place to come and win, particularly when they have a lot of match winners.”

The pitch will be same one which was used for the first Test, in which England were humbled, and even though the grass has been rolled in and may be more favourable to the batsmen, Holder reckons rookie fiery pacer Oshane Thomas could be a handful.

“He’s obviously an expressive young bowler. He’s pretty quick and sharp so it is really good to have him in the team. Hopefully, he can make some early inroads in England’s batting line-up and cause a few problems,” Holder said.

Holder said the West Indies haven’t finalised their starting hinted the toss-up between playing spinner Fabian spinner Devendra alongside off-spinner or going with Brathwaite or Cottrell.

factor here is if you are going to go with an extra spinner or seamer. I think that will be the debate that we will be having in the dressing room, so we will make a final determination tomorrow morning [today].”

But Holder says he expects great things from young, attacking left-hander, Shimron Hetmyer, who has three hundreds in 20 ODIs and averages 37.90 with a strike rate of 106.91.

“He’s an explosive player. I’m really excited for him. Hopefully, he can bat us into a really good position. Guys like Shai Hope and Chris [Gayle] could help him along and bat around him. I think we got some versatility within our batting line-up.

“We got a young guy like Nicholas Pooran, who packs a really heavy punch and is a very exciting player as well. We will be asking him to control the middle order and finish off the innings for us.”

West Indies will have a new opening combination in left-handers Gayle and newcomer John Campbell.

“It will be very exciting. They will obviously have a bit of chemistry being two Jamaicans as well,” Holder noted.

They will be up against an England attack, led by pacers Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, backed up by all-rounder Ben Stokes and spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

With the experienced Marlon Samuels unavailable through injury, Darren Bravo is expected to occupy the No. 4 position, with Hope, who was the West Indies’ leading batsman in One-Day cricket last year, at No. 3 and doubling as wicketkeeper.

West Indies: (from) Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.

England: (from) Eoin Morgan (captain), Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, David Willey.

New combination

GOT IT: West Indies all-rounder Ashley Nurse taking a high catch during practice. At left is captain Jason Holder.

line-up but hinted could be between either left-arm spinner Allen or leg-spinner Bishop, alongside Ashley Nurse, or Carlos Brathwaite Sheldon Cottrell.

“The key factor