Cricket fans can hardly wait as the sport is all set to resume after nearly four months with the start of the England-West Indies Test series in Southampton from Wednesday.
The first Test between England and West Indies is going to be the first international cricket match that will be played after 117 days since the sport was forced to stop due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
An encounter between the fourth and eighth ranked teams in test cricket is hardly a pinnacle but England’s series against West Indies could offer a glimpse into a future where the game plods on under the shadow of the new coronavirus.
All eyes of the cricketing fraternity will be on the 22 players who take the field on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl stadium, which will be completely empty as a precautionary measure against the virus.
But who all will take the field from both camps is still a mystery as neither team has released their playing XI till now.
That is why we are here to help out all those fans who are participating in the Dream XI contest and are in a dilemma on who all to pick in their playing XI for the first Test between England and West Indies.
England vs West Indies 1st Test Dream 11: Dom Sibley, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope (vc), Joe Denly, Ben Stokes (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Roston Chase, Chris Woakes, Kemar Roach, Rahkeem Cornwall, James Anderson.
Dom Sibley is the obvious choice for the first opener as the 24-year-old is averaging over 40 in 6 Tests since making his debut against New Zealand in November last year. He scored 88 runs – 44 in each innings – in the last Test he played against South Africa in January this year. You should look to partner Sibley with Kraigg Brathwaite over Rory Burns simply because of the experience that the West Indian opener has over the Englishman, even though both batsman average 33 in the format.
Shai Hope and Joe Denly can be the batsmen to follow the openers. Joe Root would have been the obvious choice to bat at No. 4 but the England captain will miss the first Test due to the birth of his second child.
Ben Stokes, England’s interim skipper for this Test, walks into any side playing XI in any format, so lock him down for No. 5 without even thinking twice. Roston Chase is also right up there with the best in the business when it comes to all-rounders in Test cricket so he should be slotted in at No. 6.
There is no doubt that Shane Dowrich is one of the gutsiest cricketers out there and is a popular Dream XI pick but it is hard to look past Jos Buttler, England’s interim vice-captain for this Test. Both average in the early 30s but Buttler should get the nod ahead of Dowrich simply because of his match-changing ability with the bat.
Raheem Cornwall is the only specialist spinner from either squads therefore, is an automatic choice for the lone tweaker’s option despite being an offie just list Chase.
England’s highest Test-wicket taker James Anderson is among the greatest fast bowlers in the format and hence, picking him in your playing XI should be a no-brainer. His partner-in-crime Stuart Broad’s participation in the first Test is not entirely certain therefore, Chris Woakes can come into your team thanks to his wicket-taking abilities and skills with the bat. And finally, Kumar Roach can also have a look into your playing XI, even though English pacers are the best in their own conditions.
Full squads for England vs West Indies, 1st Test
England: Ben Stokes (C), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
West Indies: Jason Holder (C), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach.