Joe Root will continue his test captaincy despite having gone through second consecutive 4-0 defeat in Australia, but the management fired Ashley Giles, Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe from their respective positions. An interim selection panel headed by Andrew Strauss then took the bold decision to leave out James Anderson and Stuart Broad – England’s two most-successful Test bowlers – from the touring party to clash against West Indies.
As we all know, the most successful bowling duo of Broad-Anderson was omitted for this tour. Woakes and Overton will carry the bowling department which are signs that England wants to use this tour to groom and develop a new crop of players. However, Root insisted he was focused on winning the series. England are currently at the bottom of the World Test Championship table, with 10 points from ten games and a win percentage of 9.25%. So, clearly, they can’t take any game as a means of experimentation.
With Woakes set to share the new ball alongside Overton, Root described it as “an opportunity for the guys to really grab that and show what they’re capable of in slightly different roles”. He also hinted that England had yet to decide on their final XI, having announced a 12-man squad on Sunday, although signs from the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium were that a frontline spinner would be a must on a bare pitch.
Root acknowledges that they will be judged a lot on their performance in this tour
“You don’t come into a Test series not wanting to win,” he said. “I think along with that we have the opportunity to learn more about this team, and more about the players within it. So that’s a side note, it would be a great advantage to come out of this tour as well as that, but we’re very much committed to winning this series.”
“I think it’s really important that we look forward to this series with excitement, and those guys take that opportunity. It’s really important that when opportunities come around in Test cricket you really grab them and I’m fully confident that those guys are in a really good place to go out and do that. I thought the four-day game was a really positive step forward, our attitude towards it was excellent, the energy and buzz around the field, and the way guys improved throughout the whole game was really good. I think we made the most of what was a very docile wicket to be ready for this series. We know we’re going to be judged on how we perform in these three games but we’ve given ourselves the best chance in the opportunities we’ve had to prepare.
“We put the 12 out last night, I think it’s important that we weigh everything up and see how the wicket changes. It changed throughout practice yesterday. The amount of water that was on it at the start, how tacky it was. It will be interesting to look at it today and see how things change again and we’ll make a decision off the back of that.”