World Cup Winners Prepare To Deliver In Antigua

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

The West Indies, as reigning ICC Twenty20 (T20) World Cup champions, have a shot at qualifying for the defence of their crown when Sri Lanka tour the Caribbean next month and April.

Following their dismal display in their trio of One Day Internationals against Bangladesh, the Windies turned on the style to score a miraculous 1st Test success then followed it up with a battling 2nd Test win to return to the Caribbean as heroes.

Yet their involvement in the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in India later this year, remains in the balance. Yet Sri Lanka’s tour, originally mooted for games in Antigua and St. Lucia, is a golden opportunity to maintain their momentum from the Bangladesh finale.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, all six contests will only be played in Antigua and comprising three T20 Internationals, a trio of One Day Internationals (ODIs) and a pair of Test matches. The last time the Windies played a T20I on the picturesque island was in 2013.

  

All fixtures will be behind closed doors, in a bio-secure environment, with the Coolidge Cricket Ground – colloquially known as ‘Sticky Wicket Stadium’ in Osbourn – set to make a debut as host of an international game.

Previously known as the Airport Cricket Ground, before it was taken over by American businessman and cricket enthusiast Allen Stanford, it was rebuilt in 2004 and renamed the Stanford Cricket Ground. The premier pitch in the St. George parish underwent extensive renovations in 2017, and is one of the two venues in operation for the current Regional Super50 Cup.

All three T20Is will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, which will also host a friendly two-day pre-Test warm-up.

The ODI series competed at the more familiar setting of the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound. It is a purpose-built venue, devised especially for the 2007 Cricket World Cup finals when it played host to Super 8 matches.

These three ODIs form part of the ICC Super League, with the Windies desperate to secure their first points after failing in the format in New Zealand late last year and recently in Bangladesh. Automatic qualification for the  ICC World Cup finals remains achievable, but the Windies must make a vast improvement on their previous showings.

The planned tour concludes with two Test matches, to be played at the same venue. These offer the hosts another opportunity to claim points in order to climb the ICC World Test Championship table, following their remarkable series success in Bangladesh, which was their first Test series win in Asia since 2012 and could well have kick-started a new golden era for the Windies.

West Indies v Sri Lanka schedule in Antigua
3 March | 1st T20I, Coolidge Cricket Ground

5 March | 2nd T20I, Coolidge Cricket Ground
7 March | 3rd T20I, Coolidge Cricket Ground
10 March | 1st ODI, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
12 March | 2nd ODI, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
14 March | 3rd ODI, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
17-18 March | Friendly, Coolidge Cricket Ground
21-25 March | 1st Test Match, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
29 March-2 April | 2nd Test Match, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium

  

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