Well, after what has seemed like an eternity, after waiting so long we are finally going to see some international cricket this summer.
Despite the county cricket season not starting until the beginning of August at the earliest, the West Indies have announced a squad that will be touring in England in July to play a three test series with two matches at Old Trafford and one at the Ageas Bowl.
Three West Indies players have pulled out of the tour over coronavirus fears. Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all declined to tour. Bravo has always had his doubts over touring, whilst Hetmyer and Paul have only recently become concerned.
All three players appeared in the last test between the two sides in St Lucia which England won comprehensively by 232 runs last year.
West Indies beat England 2-1 last year and are the current holders of the Wisden Trophy. However, the West Indies recent record in England is poor, having not won a test series here since 1988.
With Phil Simmons reappointed head coach on a four-year contract back in November and Roger Harper as chief selector alongside Jimmy Adams as director of cricket, the Windies certainly look a much more formidable side than we have seen on these shores before.
The biggest surprise when the 14-man squad was announced yesterday was the omission of Shannon Gabriel, who led the attack against England last year. Despite no Gabriel, the West Indies will be led by Jason Holder, who scored a memorable double century against England last year.
Shai Hope- who hit two centuries at Headingley in 2017- needs to start fulfilling his talent soon after no hundreds in his last 30 matches. On the bowling front the Windies have named off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall in the party. Standing 6ft 6 in tall and carrying a healthy load, Cornwall looks more in the mode of a club cricketer but could prove to end up getting the last laugh in England.
The squad will leave on a chartered flight paid for by the ECB and arrive in England on Tuesday. The players will be tested for Covid-19 before departure and will spend two weeks training in quarantine at Old Trafford, staying at the Hilton Hotel on the ground.
Jason Holder Capt.
First Test July 8-12 Ageas Bowl
Second Test July 16-20 Old Trafford
Third Test July 24-28 Old Trafford