5 talking points ahead of England’s Twenty20 series
England and the West Indies drew 2-2 in their recently-completed one-day international series.
England begin the final leg of their winter travels, a three-match T20 series against the West Indies, in St Lucia on Tuesday.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at the key issues.
All change for England
The selectors have chosen to rest key men Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali ahead of their imminent Indian Premier League stints, while opener Jason Roy has been allowed to return home for the birth of his first child. That means a great chunk of their first-choice XI will be absent, changing the dynamic of the side considerably. How England manage without so many of their bankers may say a lot about the depth of their resources.
Joe Root was another player considered for rotation as England look to manage their prize asset’s workload in a busy year. But he has been vocal in his frustration at missing T20 games in the past and lobbied to be involved. Root does not want to be left behind in the sprint format and is eager to show his less explosive, more methodical style can still be a match-winning one.
As it stands no arrangements are in place for the final two matches of the series to be shown on British television. The length of the tour was extended after an initial deal was agreed with Sky and the two parties have yet to come to an agreement on an additional fee. Negotiations will continue but with a matter of days to go there is a possibility fans back home will not be able to watch live.
World Cup warm-up
A draw in our last ODI series away from home before the World Cup. 🏴🏏— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 4, 2019
Massive summer ahead for this group! pic.twitter.com/h8wb1rErGg
Head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted these matches will be used to help finalise thoughts for the 50-over World Cup, meaning the likes of Tom Curran, David Willey and Joe Denly should all get a good run. They were peripheral figures in the ODI contests, Curran playing a minor role while Willey and Denly went unused, and must now use the next week to prove their white-ball skills. With Jofra Archer looming, one of the trio could be edged out of the squad.
Watching out for Wood
The biggest winner of England’s Caribbean trip has undoubtedly been paceman Mark Wood. He breathed new life into his Test career with a searing spell in the third Test and was the standout bowler in the one-dayers, cementing his place in the team. There will be a temptation for him to continue riding this wave but his injury record suggests caution should be taken. Rather than risk him breaking down, England may take the seamer out of the firing line at least once. To be treated with such care and attention indicates just how far Wood has come.