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The Preview by Alex Winter
June 15, 2012
News : Bell doubtful after blow to jaw
News : All differences rectified - Gayle
News : Gayle back to be West Indies' best
Report : Darren Bravo finds form in crushing win
Matches: England v West Indies at Southampton
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of England
It is essential West Indies take something away from this tour; so far their only plus points are the return to form of Marlon Samuels, Tino Best's Edgbaston rampage and Denesh Ramdin's ability to bat with a note in his pocket. They held Australia to a 2-2 draw in the Caribbean and now need to take 'progress', 'positives' and the excuse of being a developing side and turn them into an ODI series win - something they haven't achieved against anyone other than Zimbabwe or Bangladesh (by whom they were whitewashed in 2009) since beating Sri Lanka in April 2008.
They may have caught England at a good time. Kevin Pietersen's retirement not only removes a destructive, in-form player from their line-up but returns England to experiment mode - Ian Bell, should he be passed fit, is set to open the batting and needs to forge a partnership with Alastair Cook. Without Pietersen, England look a touch lightweight; their big guns lie in the bowling department and they are tasked with picking off West Indies' beefier batting line-up.
Form guide (most recent first)
Players to watch
The spotlight in the England team turns to the recalled Ian Bell - offered another chance in ODIs and given the backing of England team director Andy Flower that he is part of the plan for the 2015 World Cup, there is great pressure on Bell to maintain the structure England have put in place for their one-day XI. His failure could spark another major rethink - though after a knock on the chin in practice, England could yet be forced to rejig anyway.
West Indies (possible) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo/Dwayne Smith, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Andre Russell, 9 Darren Sammy (capt), 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Sunil Narine
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steve Finn
Pitch and conditions
Stats and trivia
"I don't think he is special. The kid has hardly played a lot of first-class cricket. He's young and inexperienced. Spinners usually need a few years to mature and bowl well. In the IPL batsman had no time to look at him and Indian pitches always slow-turn so everything was in his favour there."
Geoffrey Boycott on West Indies' "mystery spinner", Sunil Narine
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