Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain, has said the two-match Twenty20 series against England next week could help his inexperienced side in the build-up to the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
"These two matches present us with a chance to look at players as we prepare for the ICC T20 World Championship in Sri Lanka next year," Sammy said. "Some young players have been given this golden opportunity to show what they can do. The selectors have identified the players they want to look at."
With at least seven first-choice players missing out due to Champions League T20 commitments, West Indies are going into the series with a new-look squad. The absentees include Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath and Ravi Rampaul. While the first three haven't been included in West Indies' Twenty20 teams earlier in the year as well since they skipped the domestic Twenty20 tournament, the latter four are representing Trinidad & Tobago in the Champions League.
The new faces in the 14-man squad include batsmen Miles Bascombe and Johnson Charles, allrounder Nkruma Bonner and wicketkeeper Derwin Christian, while Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels are making comebacks.
The England series, Sammy said, could set the tone for West Indies' upcoming season. "This series signals the start of our overseas campaign for this year and we want to start our travels on a winning note." Following the Twenty20s, West Indies travel to the subcontinent for series against Bangladesh and India.
England have been in prime form this summer, enjoying success against Sri Lanka, before routing India in all formats. However, Sammy said he was confident of his side's chances. "The players are working very hard as we prepare for the upcoming matches in England. The vibe among the players in the group is great. England have been playing some very good cricket in all three formats of the game and we know we face a major challenge in this series.
"But we have some very confident players who are eager to prove themselves and give their utmost for the people of the West Indies. There is a lot to be gained by performing in this short series. We have our plans on how we aim to play against England and what we aim to get out of the series."
The Twenty20s are scheduled for September 23 and 25 at The Oval in London.