The first Test of the three-match Test series between England and West Indies will mark the resumption of international cricket after a span of nearly four months. Since March 2020, most of the sporting activities, including those in cricket were forced to come to a halt due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As a result, all the scheduled matches during the last four months were either cancelled or postponed by the respective cricket boards.
The ENG vs WI Test Series 2020 comes as a huge respite for all the cricket fans across the globe. Both the teams will lock horns in the three-match Test affair beginning July 8 at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton. The entire Test series will be played in a bio-secure environment without the spectators at any of the three venues.
England vs West Indies 2020 Test Squads
Ben Stokes (C), Jos Buttler (WK), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood.
West Indies squad:
Jason Holder (C), Shane Dowrich (WK), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.
The much-anticipated Test series will see some of the seasoned Test campaigners go up against each other. Here's a look at 5 key players to watch out for in the England vs West Indies 2020 Test series:
1. Ben Stokes
The stand-in England captain for the first Test, Ben Stokes will lead the hosts in the absence of Joe Root. Stokes, who will be donning the skipper's role for the first time in his Test career, will have a lot riding upon himself in beginning the cricket season with a win.
Being one of their most valuable players in the setup, Stokes will surely be one of the key players in the upcoming Test series for England. He has the ability to turn the course of the match both with the bat and the ball in hand. It will be interesting to see how does he respond in pressure situations in handling the team through a tough period.
2. Jason Holder
The West Indies skipper, Jason Holder will be another key player to watch out for in the upcoming Test series against England. Holder, who will also lead the side will be expected to deliver with his all-round abilities in guiding his team to a series win.
In the last Test series between the two countries in the Caribbean, Holder was at the heart of West Indies' success, both with the bat and the ball. When the visitors take the field against England in the first Test, the team will be hoping for another majestic performance from their skipper in-charge.
3. James Anderson
The England workhorse, there's no doubt that James Anderson is nearing the twilight in his career. With over 550 Test wickets, Anderson has really been the leader of the pack for his team in the last few years. He will return to Test cricket after being injured in the second Test against South Africa in January 2020.
At 37, it will be tough for the Lancashire-bowler to reproduce his heroics although his team will hope for a rich outing in the upcoming series. Anderson will also be eyeing the feat for claiming the most Test wickets for England against West Indies. He needs five more wickets to overhaul Fred Trueman's tally of 86 wickets against West Indies.
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4. Kemar Roach
The West Indies' spearhead, Kemar Roach will once again be at the forefront of the tourists' pace attack. In the past few years, Roach has evolved as a pacer, gaining more consistency and accuracy in his bowling.
Even in 2019 Test series against England, Roach proved to be a headache for the English top-order. He was at his ominous best and made life tough for the opposition batters. With an experience of 56 Tests, Roach is one of the senior players in the team. If West Indies are to win a series in England, the Barbadian cricketer will have to deliver the goods in possibly each Test match of the series.
5. Shai Hope
In West Indies tour to England in 2017, Shai Hope played a key role in guiding the visitors to a win in the second Test at Headingley. Courtesy of his twin centuries, West Indies chased a mammoth total of 322 runs in their second innings. Even in the upcoming series, the visitors will expect Shai Hope to deliver another rollicking performance against England in 2020.
Hope will be a batting mainstay for the West Indies and his experience of previously playing in England will assist him to counter the tough conditions throughout the course of the entire Test series.