The competitive cricket resumes after more than three months without fans in a bio-secure environment as England take on West Indies in a three-match test series starting on July 8. In this article, we will look at 5 game-changing players who can decide the fate of this series.
1. Ben Stokes
The hero of England's World Cup triumph and a successful Ashes series will be put to test as he is in the leadership role now. With the regular captain, Joe Root away, Stokes will have his task cut out as he has never captained a senior team before. Arguably the best all-rounder in the game right now, Stokes will look at his teammates for support.
Fast bowler, Mark Wood has praised his leadership skills. "Stokesy won't just tell people what to do. He knows that players are individuals, so he will treat them as such. That said, he is also very honest, so he won't be afraid to tell it straight if someone is not pulling their weight or sticking to a plan. He will do a brilliant job," said Wood in a column for BBC.
2. Kemar Roach
As the leader of the Windies bowling line-up, Roach's 18 wicket haul in the last year's series against England will be remembered for a long time. Roach would have to cope up with the saliva ban imposed by ICC. With ample seam and swing guaranteed, he would benefit from his attacking style of bowling.
“You saw them in the Caribbean and it is pretty fresh in our minds. It’s always going to be tough to play England but once we get stuck into them, I think we stand a great chance of beating England," said the Windies pacer recently.
3. Jofra Archer
Interestingly, Archer is the only player who has represented both the West Indies and England at the highest level. Though he had a face off with the Caribbeans in last year's World Cup, this will be the first time Archer will be playing against them in a Test match. With 30 wickets in just 7 matches, he is truly a match-winner and in for the long run. The Englishman recently scalped 2 wickets in the Team Buttler vs Team Stokes warm-up match.
4. Shai Hope
The talented batsman is in poor form of late with no tons in the past three years. He will be looking to repeat his heroics of 2017 against England where he scored 375 runs in just three matches. "I just need to have the continued belief in myself, back my ability because I know I can get it done, it's not like I haven't done it before," Hope mentioned in a statement ahead of the series.
5. Stuart Broad
With 485 wickets in 138 test matches, Broad has all the acumen in him to turn a match with his threatening spells. With no members of public there for the match, Broad has been consulting the team's sports psychologist to prepare his mindset for best performance. "I think the games will feel a bit different with no crowds. International cricket certainly will be more of a mental test to make sure each player is right up for the battle, and I'm very aware of that," said the Englishman in a video conference to the media.
Cover picture credits: Cricketnmore