West Indies v England, 1st ODI, Antigua

West Indies power and spin will test England

The Preview by Andrew McGlashan

February 27, 2014

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

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.

Joe Root brought out a full range of shots, UWI Vice Chancellor's XI v England XI, Tour match, North Sound, February 25, 2014
Joe Root warmed up for the series with a hundred © Getty Images

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 28, 2014, 9:45 GMT)

two very poor sides , not worth watching.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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

Posted by 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by 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.

Posted by salazar555 on (February 28, 2014, 6:49 GMT)

The west indies are a poor cricket team, the only thing they have going for them is the fact England look horrible at the moment too. It almost feels like a wooden spoon competition as the 2 poor and out of form teams go at it to decide who is the least worst.

Posted by Raymond92 on (February 28, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

While Englands line up is quite disappointing, this could be the start off something good for these guys. KP would fit into this line up so easily and make it look so much better. Tredwell should not play and let Parry play. Treds time is over, hes a bit and pieces player, he's just the spinning Bresnan. Where are Englands class players?

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 4:59 GMT)

@Buzzo shiwram I agree, All 11 WI players are capable of failing 80% of time..but also each WI players have capability to win the match single handily. Consistency is the biggest factor which WI is missing these days...They need to find someone like Shiv, Ramnaraesh sarvan...

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (February 28, 2014, 4:54 GMT)

I have always believed that the resurgence of the West Indies is just around the corner. They have a cluster of brilliantly talented youngsters but somehow they are failing to get going.But this cannot be going on all the time. I think however, that they are ready. England is not going to find it easy. In fact I expect West Indies to win. So best of luck to the Carribeans.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (February 28, 2014, 3:46 GMT)

WI possible 11 - no Simmons ...

He is only the BEST ODI batsman for the WI for 3-4 years running .....

Other batsmen can have LONG lean periods and keep their place on the team ...

All Simmons needs to do is fail to cross 30 , in three consecutive games and he gets dropped for a year......

The WI selection process is so unfair ... You can perform better than EVERYONE and still get omitted ...

I remember the 1st time they dropped Simmons it was for "an attitude problem" !

Simmons dropped the law suit , so he could be available for selection again ...

But the people who don't want him in the team are still there making decisions

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 3:38 GMT)

I think Andrew is very gracious in using the term "West Indies power". Are we talking about the same outfit that struggled against Ireland here?

Posted by   on (February 28, 2014, 2:10 GMT)

Many saying that this batting order is bad, I actually disagree, I agree that Wright maybe should be replaced by Ali after all Wright's bowling has declined dramatically but Ali is quite a good spin bowler as well as being a really good batter. But as for Buttler being too far down the order, I don't think he is, after all he has the potential to hit sixs and fours when needed so there is someone lower down who can be relied on if needed with the lower order who aren't as good, well apart from Broad who can hit hard and prefers too.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 28, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

@CodandChips, I think that it might be a bit unfair to talk about "the Giles formula". England were in the habit of prioritising wickets in hand early and hitting out late ever since the two new balls were introduced. I think that there may well have been a lot of Andy Flower's influence there. Let's not forget that, while it was unsuccessful, England did look like they wanted to play more aggressively early in their innings in the later games in Australia.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 23:54 GMT)

On the balance of things, albeit that Ben Stokes is a bit wasted at three and would be a great number five, I think that England side is strong. Especially in the batting department, and might shock those who are just guessing at England's potential due to not really knowing these 'new' players. Hales, Morgan, Stokes and Buttler are all very good players with the willow on their day.... and, yes, whilst West Indies will undoubtedly have an advantage in the spin department and on their dead pitches, I actually think England might surprise a few people.... maybe eleven West Indians even. After all, the Windies form versus Ireland was pretty underwhelming.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (February 27, 2014, 23:32 GMT)

My 1 to watch would be Kieron Powell, he has so much potential and when he's on song there's not many more elegant batsman to watch, hopefully he can carry on where he left off in the last ODi v NZ. He's had quite a few good scores but it would be great if he could really announce himself to the world during this tour with a biggie.

Posted by remsum7 on (February 27, 2014, 22:50 GMT)

I think the West Indies selectors needs to include Sarwan in this line up. I think the line up should be:1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Lendl Simmons/Kirk Edwards, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan , 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Jason Holder, 10 Nikita Miller, 11 Ravi Rampaul.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (February 27, 2014, 21:45 GMT)

This series bet. 2 weaklings will be close-nothing to choose betw. the 2 and for exactly that reason.Hope that's the case-will make it a bit exciting hopefully.Meanwhile 2 best teams gear up for concl. of the most exciting series in recent times in CT.

Posted by west_indiesBoss on (February 27, 2014, 21:06 GMT)

i cant believe people are actually still calling for sarwan. fullstop.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 27, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

I agree with JG2704. The batting order is wrong. It screams 30-3 after 10 everytime. I am glad Hales gets a run as he has the tools to be a top ODI player. Wright? He is a T20 slogger - let him stay in that format. Ali is a classy bat who bats up front for his county. I'd go: Hales, Ali, Root, Morgan, Bopara, Stokes, Buttler, Bresnan, Broad, Jordan, Tredders. I wouldn't mind Parry playing as the pitches will probably be very slow and dead.

Posted by CodandChips on (February 27, 2014, 20:08 GMT)

@JG2704 agree that the batting order is wrong. Morgan and Buttler too low to have a significant and consistent impact. Root at 4 despite him being the only candidate other than possibly Morgan to bat through. Stokes at 3 despite poor ODI batting stats that don't really suggest him to be capable there. Also wonder if Giles will scrap his formula as a result of this line-up, or will he go down the absurd route of trying to get Wright & Hales to play like Cook & Bell.

Posted by JG2704 on (February 27, 2014, 19:30 GMT)

I like the England side but not the batting order. I still dont like Stokes at 3 , Jos too far down the order etc. Also would like to see them squeeze Ali in the side and I think they might well do that esp if Morgan is injured. I like Bopara's bowling but I see he went for runs in the last game so I wonder if Ali could come in for him? It just seems pointless taking him (Ali) from the Lions side where he was doing OK to be a reserve player here

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 19:23 GMT)

This West Indies team has Smith,Sammy,Dwayne Bravo all three guys of similar qualities......all capable of failing 75% of the time,why all three on the team? Smith should be in the 11, one the other two to captain......this leaves Sammy out!! Please give anyone else a chance.....another bat, Sarwan!! we will stand a better chance selectors!!!

Posted by CodandChips on (February 27, 2014, 19:15 GMT)


What will also be interesting is the English approach. Will the Giles formula be ditched? A top order of Hales, Wright & Stokes hardly seems to support it. Also if Moeen Ali plays England will be playing more genuine bowling options than usual.

11 wins in 26 matches is terrible. And I wonder who's been in charge since the start of that period. Yes he has been forced to rest certain players, but doubt he has been forced to pick certain others, or to play a certain way.

Posted by CodandChips on (February 27, 2014, 19:12 GMT)

And so the attempt to try and win a WT20 with a flawed squad and warm-up matches against a poor opposition begins.

These matches should be close due the poorness of both teams.

I reckon the predicted England team above is spot on. That is the team that will be selected. However to get best use of this poorly-selected squad, I would pick the following:

1.Hales 2.Root 3.Ali 4.Morgan 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Lumb/Bopara/Wright 8.Broad 9.Jordan 10.Tredwell 11.Gurney (to give him experience and because I beleive he is superior to Dernbach. Wouldn't mind Parry playing though)

Morgan would be a huge loss.Our best batsman in white ball cricket, and the guy who should captain both sides. Hopefully he can stay fit for the WT20.If his injury is long-term, perhaps it could be seen as a result of bad karma of whoever was responsible for not including KP in this ridiculous squad.

Without Morgan 1.Hales 2.Lumb 3.Root 4.Ali 5.Buttler 6.Stokes 7.Bopara/Wright 8.Broad 9.Jordan 10.Tredwell 11.Gurney

Posted by   on (February 27, 2014, 19:08 GMT)

A lot of people may be tempted to easily dismiss this series, but it has all the makings of being a tough contest between two struggling teams.

WI looks a balanced side with enough batting and bowling to do well, but too often our batsmen just lose their cool, play a rash shot and gets out - not enough application. It would have been awesome to see another fast bowler in there, rather than one of the medium pacers.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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