Forget England’s Test team. Now it’s time for the short-form specialists to take centre stage
West Indies v England, Wednesday 20 February, 2.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket/HD (CH 514/504)
It’s a big year for English cricket – arguably the biggest ever. With both the World Cup and an Ashes series on home soil, 2019 has the potential to bowl the nation over in the best way possible.
But first there’s a One Day International series against the West Indies to negotiate. With their Test series wrapped up, the two nations are now ready to duke it out again over five unmissable matches, live and exclusive on Sky Sports Cricket.
England’s ODI team might be ranked number one in the world, but there’s still plenty to prove in the heat of the Caribbean against a Windies side that includes one of the most explosive batsmen in the game: Chris Gayle.
Whether it’s England’s tried-and-trusted stars, or the players still looking to gain a coveted spot in the World Cup squad, take a look at five Englishmen who will be in the spotlight when the action gets under way.
1. Eoin Morgan
The skipper has transformed the team since taking charge in 2015, leading from the front to turn them from a solid ODI outfit into the number one side in the world. As cool as a cucumber chilling out in the Arctic, Morgan may not always produce the biggest scores with the bat, but his composure and tactical nous make him indispensable for England.
2. David Willey
After injury ruled him out of England’s ODI series victory over Sri Lanka at the end of 2018, Willey is back in the international fold. The useful all-rounder hasn’t played a huge amount of cricket in 2019 (his appearance in the Big Bash League was cut short by a shoulder problem) so he’ll be desperate to prove himself to the selectors against the Windies.
3. Jonny Bairstow
It was a peculiar 2018 for Bairstow. After starting the year in fine form, injury and questions over his wicket-keeping credentials saw the Yorkshireman fall out of favour. But let’s not get too carried away. With his big hitting at the top of the batting order and sound skills behind the stumps, Bairstow remains one of England’s best players in all forms of the game. He’ll be looking at this ODI series as a chance to remind people of that.
4. Jason Roy
Slap-bang at the top of the batting order, Roy’s aggressive style at the crease played a key role in England’s series win over Sri Lanka. But if history has taught us anything it’s that an English batting order is a fragile thing indeed. With the big-hitting Alex Hales waiting in the wings, Roy will be all too aware that he can’t afford any mistakes against the bowling attack of the West Indies.
5. Ben Stokes
Any list of players to watch has to include Stokes because you just can’t take your eyes off him. When witnessing the all-rounder in full, fiery flow, you get the sense that he was born to give every ounce of energy to the England cause. A proven match winner in all forms of cricket, Stokes has an invaluable ability to swing a contest in his team’s favour in the space of a single over.
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