West Indies v England, 1st ODI, Antigua February 27, 2014

West Indies power and spin will test England


Match Facts

February 28, Antigua
Start time 9.30am (13.30GMT)

Croft: Holder reminds me of Joel Garner

The Big Picture

This is an odd one-day series, squeezed in before the World Twenty20 to comply with FTP requirements (the Tests are held next year), but it is possible to see value in the contests for both sides - not least because there is a 50-over World Cup in a year. England's recent travails need little repeating, and this brief tour is a chance for bonding and revival ahead of Bangladesh, while West Indies can look to build on the relative success of a shared series in New Zealand when the odds were stacked against them.

Both teams have said they will approach the matches as one-day internationals, rather than elongated practice for the Twenty20s - a three-match T20 series follows in Barbados - but that is perhaps slightly truer of West Indies than England. The hosts can have the flexibility of picking their bespoke squads, which includes putting the captaincy in Dwayne Bravo's hands rather than Darren Sammy's, but England have engineered their squad with the focus on the T20s to follow.

For very different reasons, two of the game's most destructive batsmen will be missing. Chris Gayle's absence is injury-related - and West Indies will have everything crossed he is fit for their World T20 defence - while England are beginning life permanently without Kevin Pietersen.

The last time England were in the Caribbean, Pietersen was the Player of the Tournament at the World Twenty20; now they will be putting their faith in the likes of Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Jos Buttler to sparkle in the middle order. Even without Gayle, West Indies are not short on power in their top order with the likes of Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and the improving pair of Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)
West IndiesWWLLW
England LWLLL

Watch out for...

Sunil Narine did not have a huge impact in the one-day series in New Zealand - taking three wickets from four matches - and was left out against Ireland, but there are plenty of reasons to play him here. England's record against unorthodox spin (and often spin of any sort) in limited-overs cricket is far from impressive.

This is a rare chance for Stuart Broad to take charge of England for more than a few days. But not only will his captaincy skills be key, he is now the attack-leader in the limited-overs formats. England do not have many bowlers who can change a game in a spell: Broad is one of them. How he uses himself around the various fielding restrictions will be interesting to watch.

Team news

With no Gayle, Smith will likely open the batting as he did against Ireland where he scored a brisk half-century. West Indies could well be tempted to take the pace off the ball against the England line-up.

West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Kieron Powell, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Kirk Edwards, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Jason Holder, 11 Nikita Miller

If England's warm-up match is anything to go by - and you would think it would be - the only uncapped player they are set to blood is Alex Hales. He opened alongside Luke Wright in against the Vice Chancellor's XI; the other candidates to open would have been Michael Lumb and Moeen Ali. However, Eoin Morgan missed training with a knee problem and if he is ruled out, Moeen could earn a debut.

England (possible) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Luke Wright, 3 Ben Stokes, 4 Joe Root, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Jos Buttler (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad (capt), 10 Chris Jordan, 11 James Tredwell

Pitch and conditions

Expect the ball to be going through knee height, rather than chest height. That, with a few exceptions, is the way these days in the Caribbean. The forecast suggests a chance of rain, but nothing that looks terminal.

Stats and trivia

    The last time England played a match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the contest lasted 10 deliveries before the 2009 Test was abandoned due to a dangerous outfield.

  • England's only previous ODIs at this ground came during the 2007 World Cup when they lost both matches

  • Since January 2013, West Indies have hit 145 sixes in 28 matches (an average of 5.18 per game) while England have hit 89 in 26 matches (an average of 3.42 per game) but both teams have won the same number of matches (11) in that period.

  • Ravi Bopara, if selected, will play his 100th one-day international.


"I don't want to say this is preparation for the Twenty20 World Cup, because these are three one-day internationals - and we have the 50-over World Cup round the corner."
Dwayne Bravo

"The warm-up match was the first 50-over match I've captained, so it was good to get one in before the internationals."
Stuart Broad

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • o-bomb on February 28, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    Particularly with the 2 potentially destructive, but potentially fallible openers; I would prefer to see Root at 3 than Stokes.

  • BRUTALANALYST on February 28, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    @salazar555 Well they just smashed NZ away twice in the only 2 full length ODI's out there the same NZ side that whitewashed full strength India 4-0. So you can flip it both ways W.I are like Pakistan you never know what you're going to get but you should never underestimate in the short format

  • Damo_s on February 28, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    As an England fan I would agree that these are 2 out of form teams playing to avoid the title of who is the worst team in the world. Potentially England have a strong batting line up but you just sense with this lot that they will fold if there are a few early wickets. There is no one capable of grinding out an innings if plan A falls on its face (Root maybe, but still quite inexperienced). The bowling is also a concern. Broad has become a good but not excpetional one day bowler, bresnan is just Tim Bresnan, Jordan relatively new, bits and peices spinners. Perhaps Stokes may provide some oomph as he bowled well in Australia. A top class bowler and batsmen short of a decent team in my opinion.

  • espncricinfomobile on February 28, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    two very poor sides , not worth watching.

  • BailsRgo on February 28, 2014, 9:45 GMT

    The headline here is totally wrong - it should be England spin will test West Indies - according to Broady, England are playing great cricket in the nets!!! Watch out Windies!

  • wirus on February 28, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    There is no issue with the ability of WI to win these three matches. The issue is with their mental state. As a squad / team they are, in a word, shot. Hence there is a lack of focus and prolonged concentration leading to dropped catches, silly shots, run outs and sometimes some nonsensical bowling. When you chose 11 men to represent a fractured and rudderless team, what do you expect? Each one is preoccupied with their own thoughts - pressure from the coach or guilt at being chosen when he knows there are better players out there or fear of failure...again or bitterness about something said or whatever. The point is that it makes for a distracted, listless team that loses far more often than it wins which itself creates more pressure. Bravo has the ability to lift his team but it may be beyond him now.

  • JG2704 on February 28, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    It will be interesting to see how England's batting go about this.

    Wright and Hales need to play their natural game and not try to build an inns. I still like Wright but can also understand those who criticise his selection but I feel he must play in the top 3 if he is to play because that is where he has had all his success with Sussex. I dont like Stokes at 3. He doesnt look too adept at playing spin and any team who does their homework would surely just bring on spin as soon as Stokes comes in. Root and Morgan are much more innovative players. Also in the last ODI series vs Australia it was more our numbers 3 and 4 (Stokes and Ballance) who stagnated the RR and not so much Bell and Cook who get the flak. I'm not against any formula/tactics but I'd like to see them lose the rigidness. This is the 1st match with Collingwood's involvement so it'll be interesting to see if there's any noticeable change in attitude etc

  • Lord_mac on February 28, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    @anujbhasin56, @Raymond92 - KP is gone and won't be coming back. The decision, like it or not, is irreversible. Move on.

  • dummy4fb on February 28, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    England will win handsomely since the WI team is packed with recycled failures , what is Sammy doing in the team , he is not the captain. Mr Butts continue to select players that will embarrass West Indies Cricket . Australia is picking 36 year olds while West Indies ignoring is 33 year old proven Sarwan . In addition Beaton could have been there instead of Sammy

  • anujbhasin56 on February 28, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    This side needs Bell, Trott and James Anderson. Bring back KP, you need him for World Cup.

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