TOP News

Sport: England in the West Indies: Chance for newcomers in relentless schedule

Ashes LIVE: Updates, scores, highlights - Australia and England in the fifth Ashes Test at Hobart's Bellerive Oval

  Ashes LIVE: Updates, scores, highlights - Australia and England in the fifth Ashes Test at Hobart's Bellerive Oval Australia will attempt to shut out England in the Ashes series as the fifth Test begins at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.Read back our live blog from today's action at Bellerive Oval.

England start their preparations for the T20 World Cup later this year with a five-match series against the West Indies in Barbados, just days after their Ashes humiliation was complete.

With several of England’s all-format players omitted after their exploits in Australia, this represents an opportunity for several batters and bowlers on the periphery to make a compelling case.

Here, the PA news agency considers some of the issues ahead of five contests spread over nine days.

No let-up in England’s ballooning schedule

Jason Roy was in scintillating form in England’s only warm-up in the Caribbean (David Davies/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 Jason Roy was in scintillating form in England’s only warm-up in the Caribbean (David Davies/PA)

England are still reeling from their kicking Down Under, the inquest well under way after a dismal campaign, so it is little surprise the build-up to this tour has gone under the radar. A relentless fixture list means Saturday’s opener comes just six days after the Test side’s last humiliation in a 4-0 drubbing. Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Chris Jordan, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, along with captain Eoin Morgan, are the T20 regulars who have made the trip to the Caribbean while Sam Billings has arrived late after answering England’s SOS for the Hobart Test.

The Ashes 2021/22: Sam Billings finds joy in Test debut despite England struggles

  The Ashes 2021/22: Sam Billings finds joy in Test debut despite England struggles Billings is making his format debut in the fifth and final Ashes Test.Billings was preparing to leave Australia after a stint with Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League when injuries to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow saw him drafted in as emergency cover.

Opportunity knocks

George Garton could make his international bow during this series (Mike Egerton/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 George Garton could make his international bow during this series (Mike Egerton/PA)

With Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow returning to the UK after a few months on the road, England will field a new-look top four with Roy the only certainty. Roy is back from a calf tear that ended his T20 World Cup early and warmed up for this series with a buccaneering 115 from 47 balls against an overwhelmed Barbados XI. Batter Harry Brook and left-arm seamers George Garton and David Payne are the uncapped players in the squad while the likes of Phil Salt, Saqib Mahmood and Tom Banton should get their chance after being on the fringes of squads.

Eyes on the prize

While this series might be unable to deflect attention away from what happened in Australia, England would be unwise to let these five matches, all being staged in Bridgetown, merely pass them by. Two months have passed since the last T20 World Cup, when England were eliminated in the semi-finals, but they will have another attempt at history in Australia in the autumn. No side has ever held both white-ball World Cups simultaneously and England, 50-over champions, should be looking to learn some important lessons about their players between now and then.

England have hit rock bottom in Hobart says former skipper Sir Alastair Cook

  England have hit rock bottom in Hobart says former skipper Sir Alastair Cook The former England captain was left stunned by the tourists’ collapse in the final Ashes Test.Abject England lost 10 wickets for 56 runs in 22.5 overs after openers Rory Burns and Zak Crawley had reached 68 without loss in reply to Australia’s second innings total of 155.

Emphasis on white-ball

England captain Eoin Morgan has rarely had a full strength squad to choose from (Shaun Botterill/PA) © Provided by Cricket365 England captain Eoin Morgan has rarely had a full strength squad to choose from (Shaun Botterill/PA)

World Cup-winning captain Morgan was quite punchy when assessing whether Test cricket had taken a back seat to the limited-overs formats, telling talkSPORT: “People that use that as an excuse don’t watch cricket. Test match cricket has always been the priority – it’s the format for our elite players.” It is difficult to argue against Morgan’s reasoning as he has regularly been deprived of a full-strength side since the start of the pandemic. Only in South Africa in early 2020 and India last year has Morgan had every available player at his disposal.

Jofra on the comeback trail

It has been 10 months since Jofra Archer last played an international match, with the World Cup winner undergoing a second operation on a troublesome elbow that has kept him on the sidelines for much of the past two years. He returned to his family home in his native Barbados to convalesce but has been training with England this week, doing some light drills and catching up with team-mates. He was even spotted rolling his arm over in the nets on Friday although England have been at pains to convey there is no timescale on any sort of playing return.

Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Send email Mail

Time of the essence in F1's new-look weekend schedule .
Formula 1 will have a new-look weekend schedule for 2022 season, with Thursday media days scrapped in a bid to condense events in a record year. F1 has typically operated four-day (Thursday to Sunday) weekends in its worldwide calendar, with the opening day predominantly for media sessions before the track action begins on Friday. © Sutton Images Media days will switch from a Thursday to a Friday morning But with 23 races on this year's schedule, the format is set to change.

See also