Jamaican Trio Prepare For England Test Battle On Home Soil

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

Kraigg Braithwaite, who lost December’s two Test matches to Sri Lanka, has a strong Jamaican batting contingent as he aims to continue the West Indies’ winning streak against England next month.

The Windies thrillingly captured the T20I series 3-2 against England at the tight Kensington Oval in Barbados earlier this year, but the long format is a different ball game. Bajan Braithwaite, who has only been captain since December 2020, faces a trio of Test matches against England in Antigua, Barbados and Grenada respectively.

Cricket West Indies (CWI), who will have doubts over the future of Kieron Pollard as the ODI and T20I skipper following this month’s clean sweep of defeats in India, will allow Braithwaite some rest ahead of the opening Test on 8 March. 

The CWI have given Barbadian wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich the nod to lead the board’s President’s XI in a four-day warm-up friendly at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, which starts on March 1. Braithwaite will be aware that the Windies only lost their way against England’s spinners in the home T20I series. So the battle with England for the inaugural Richards-Botham Trophy, which replaces the Wisden Trophy, has seen reinforcements for the opening clash at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua.

  

Jamaica provide a strong batting line-up for the 1st Test, with opener John Campbell recalled to join compatriots Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner. Campbell’s eye-catching century for Jamaica against Barbados at Kensington Oval last week means he returns at the expense of Shai Hope. The Kingston-born left-hander has not played a Test since April 2021.

With veteran fast bowler Shannon Gabrie ruled out because of a hamstring injury, uncapped Trinidadian speedster Anderson Phillip has been named in the 13-strong squad. The 25-year-old has represented the Windies just once, in last year’s 3rd ODI against Sri Lanka in Antigua.

Windies lead selector Desmond Haynes enthused: “Anderson Phillip was very impressive in the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship, so we decided to give him an opportunity in the Test squad to face England.”

Three players who tasted Test defeats in Sri Lanka last year have been omitted. Jeremy Solozano, the Trinidad & Tobago left-handed batsman who was stretchered off the pitch after being hit on the head on his debut, misses out as do Antigua all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall and St. Vincent slow left-arm orthodox spinner Jomel Warrican.

Haynes, a former opener for the Windies, added: “We have a squad that has some experienced players as well as some exciting young players. We expect them to equip themselves well and do the job.

“I expect us to be very competitive against England. This should be a very exciting series, with a lot of players who are out to make their mark.”

The West Indies have not lost a Test series to England on home soil since 2004, yet tasted a 2-1 Test series defeat two years ago behind closed doors in England.

  

WI 1st Test squad | Jermaine Blackwood (Jamaica, vice-capt.), Nkrumah Bonner (Jamaica), Kraigg Brathwaite (Barbados, capt.), Shamarh Brooks (Barbados), John Campbell (Jamaica), Joshua da Silva (Trinidad, wicketkeeper), Jason Holder (Barbados), Alzarri Joseph (Antigua), Kyle Mayers (Barbados), Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Anderson Phillip (Trinidad), Kemar Roach (Barbados), Jayden Seales (Trinidad)

1-4 March | Warm-up friendly CWI President’s XI v England Select XI (Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua)

8-12 March | 1st Test WI v England (Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua)

16-20 March | 2nd Test WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)

24-28 March | 3rd Test WI v England (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)

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