As international cricket returns after a three-month long hiatus, a massive challenge lies ahead of the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. Although the men from the Caribbean enter the three-match Test series as the current holders of the Wisden Trophy, their record in England over the last three decades has been shambolic.
It was all the way back in 1988 that the Windies recorded a series win on English soil and they are currently on a dismal streak of six straight series losses in the country. With a current ICC Test ranking of eight compared to the No4 slot held by England, an uphill task awaits Jason Holder and his men on the tour.
Amid the doom and gloom for the once mighty West Indies, there are also reasons to be optimistic. Rustiness induced by the long break could be a great leveller for both sides, while Joe Root’s absence for the opening Test should come as a boost for the visitors as well. However, the biggest trump card in the Windies deck is undoubtedly their rising prowess in the pace department.
The batting might still bear an unconvincing look and the lack of consistency in the department is a huge concern. As a pace unit, however, West Indies have been making all the right noises in the last two years or so. It might still be a far cry from the legendary pace quartet of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner, but the visitors have ample ammunition in their pace department to ruffle a few feathers in England.
THE KINGPIN – JASON HOLDER
Leader, talisman, a prolific pacer and gritty lower-order batsman: The No1 ranked Test all-rounder dons several hats for this West Indies side. Though he is clearly a man of enviable