The hosts were mighty impressive in their 2-1 Test series triumph but they will have their task cut out against the No1 ranked Englishmen in the ODI format.
As the two teams get ready for the first ODI – with less than 100 days to go until to the World Cup – we look at the three key battles which could have a decisive impact on the series.
SHIMRON HETMYER v ADIL RASHID
The Windies have a penchant for producing some swashbuckling limited-overs batsmen and Shimron Hetmyer is the latest such sensation to emerge for the Caribbean side.
Having forged his reputation in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), the left-hander has been slowly enforcing his authority at the international level. Three ODI tons in just 20 innings is a testament to the prowess of the 22-year-old and he has the capability to take the game away from the opposition in a matter of a few overs.
He loves taking on the spinners and will relish his prospective battle with Adil Rashid. The England leg-spinner might have been mostly a passenger in the Test series but he is a completely different beast in the limited-overs format and will fancy his chances of toppling the uber-attacking Hetmyer.
JASON HOLDER v JOE ROOT
It was Jason Holder who won the battle of the skippers against Joe Root in the Test series, with the West Indies all-rounder leading his side from the front thanks to a sensational double ton.
Although it will be Eoin Morgan who takes charge of England in the ODI format, Holder will still hope to be a thorn in the side for Root throughout the five-match series.
Root warmed up for the ODI series with a fine ton in England’s warm-up game at Barbados and the top-order batsman remains key for his side despite the presence of several big hitters.
While Root will look to anchor the innings for the tourists, Holder, who was suspended for the third Test due to his side’s slow over-rate, will be determined to get the better of him. The talismanic Windies skipper has a habit of turning up against the big-name players like Virat Kohli and as such, his battle with Root should be an enticing one for the neutrals.
CHRIS GAYLE v MARK WOOD
Having announced his decision to retire from ODI cricket following the completion of this summer’s World Cup, Chris Gayle will be determined to pack a punch in what will be his last home series in the format.
The 39-year-old ‘Universe Boss’ is returning to international cricket after a long hiatus and wasn’t in the best of form during the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) either.
However, the explosive opener will look to sign off on a high in front of his own fans, especially at Barbados which is his home ground.
While Gayle is capable of striking fear into any opposition bowler, Mark Wood will be hoping to buck that trend. The England pacer was excellent on his return to red-ball cricket in the final Test against the Windies and will be looking to carry over that performance into the limited-overs clashes.
With a place in England’s World Cup squad on the line for Wood, the express fast-bowler should be hungry enough and he will back himself to get the better of a rusty Gayle with the new-ball in hand.
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