West Indies, England face-off in search of revival

AFP
Published Feb 28, 2014, 12:29 am IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 10:09 am IST
Both squads are without key performers going into the opening exchanges.

Antigua and Barbuda: Two teams in dire need of rehabilitation ahead of the next global cricketing contest start what should be an intriguing fortnight of competition on Friday when the West Indies host England in Antigua.

While the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is still just under a year away, the Caribbean side's defence of the World T20 crown begins in three weeks' time in Bangladesh. So it will be no surprise if there is even greater interest and purpose attached to the three T20 fixtures between Dwayne Bravo's men and Stuart Broad's side in Barbados the week following the final ODI.

 

However, in the almost immediate aftermath of horrendous foreign campaigns, victories for either side in any format and against any opposition will be welcome.

England's annihilation in Australia over all three established formats of the game grabbed most international attention, but the West Indies also endured humiliating Test series defeats in India and New Zealand, despite performing more creditably in the one-dayers. Both squads are without key performers going into the opening exchanges at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, named in honour of the tiny nation's greatest cricketer.

 

On England's last visit to the Caribbean in 2009, the scheduled second Test in the same North Sound venue lasted all of nine deliveries before it was abandoned due to a poorly-prepared outfield covered with more sand than any of the island's idyllic beaches.

Then, Kevin Pietersen had just been replaced as captain by Andrew Strauss. Now, he is out of the picture altogether, the general perception being that for all his abundant batting talent, he is too much of a maverick to be accommodated at a time when all hands are needed on deck and working together for the good of the team.

 

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