This will be England’s first Test assignment since getting embarrassed in the Ashes. They were in the Caribbean in January too, right after the Ashes debacle, when they were beaten 3-2 in a T20I series by the Windies. The Englishmen return to the Caribbean a little more than a month later to play a format they are stronger in and their hosts are misfit fit.
The Caribbean has always been a difficult region to play five-day cricket in for England, who have won just one series there in the last half a century.
That sole series win came in the 2003-04 season when their four-headed pace monster of Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard ran riots.
Talking about ace pacers, England will be without two of their very best for this tour as they have axed the legendary duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. In comes uncapped quartet of Matt Fisher, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson. Ben Foakes also returns to the side.
However, pacer Ollie Robinson has been ruled out due to a back spasm, perhaps paving way for Mahmood to make his debut.
West Indies’ most recent assignment was a limited overs tour of India where they lost all six matches – three each in ODI and T20I.
As mentioned above, they do have happy memories of their last England clash, which was back in January but in the shortest format. This being a Test series makes memories of that high irrelevant.
The Calypso Kings’ last Test outing was away against Sri Lanka late last year. It goes without saying that they lost both their matches with ease.
At home, they should fare better against a new look England side that is a bit light on experience.
One man who should be kept an eye on is young pacer Jayden Seales, who has already spoken of his plan to exploit England captain Joe Root’s vulnerability to mess with outswingers.