As the world is still coping up with COVID -19 situation, sporting activities are finding their way back to the arena after a break of almost 6 months. ‘The New Normal’ as they call it, is finding its place among the people. Tournaments and matches are taking place in several regions with ensuring strict protocols. Men’s cricket resumed with the series between England and West Indies while Germany defeated Austria 5-0 in the Women’s T20I series.
England who leads the pathway to welcome back cricket ensured that cricketers follow no-nonsense rules and play the matches while staying in the ‘bio-bubble’. India and South Africa cancelled their scheduled tour to England, considering the increase in the number of the COVID-affected people in their respective countries.
England, unfortunately, got knocked out in the T20 World Cup in 2020 and is again ready to steamroll their opponent. In 2020 England had played 9 matches while won 5 out of that. They lost only one match in the World Cup, against South Africa which, cost them the tournament. They along with their World Cup squad had called in Sophia Dunkley and Katie George in their 16 members. Georgia Elwiss on the other hand again missed the series due to injury.
England’s top order will be dependent upon the likes of Amy Jones and Danielle Wyatt. The opening has been an area of concern for England in 2020. Amy Jones who has scored 69 runs in 8 innings this year, will try to find her brilliant touch with the bat. Though Danielle Wyatt too didn’t have a very good outing with the bat this year, she would like to carry her good touch from the two matches she played in the Rachael Haynes Trophy.
She had scored 55 and 63 before she joined the English camp. English middle order, which is consisted, of skipper Heather Knight, Fran Wilson, and Natalie Sciver, is always a threat to any opposition. In the last two years, the majority of the runs came from the English middle order in T20 cricket. England had players like Tammy Beaumont and Lauren Winfield, who can be used in both middle order and upper order according to the need for the situation.
The inclusion of Sophia Dunkley will boost their batting as well as the spin bowling department. Leg-spinner Sophia Dunkley has played 10 T20I games so far with the final appearance came in March last year against Sri Lanka. So far, she has claimed one wicket, and 49 runs in her name. Prior to this camp, Dunkley made 97 against Sunrisers in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy, while picking up 2 wickets in the same match.
England can use her in the middle order in some of the matches, in the absence of Elwiss. England has plenty of variety in their spin bowling department. Off-spinner Mady Villiers and leg spinner Sarah Glenn will join the likes of Sophie Ecclestone who has taken 50 T-20 wickets with an economy of 6.
English sea bowling attack will be spearheaded by the seasoned trio of Kate Cross, Katherine Brunt, and Anya Shurbsole. As these are getting older, England will be looking forward to mentor Freya Davies and Katie George. Katie George will be playing her match after 2018. This left-arm seamer has taken 2 wickets in 5 T-20’s. These two youngsters will be looking forward to their chances and to grab them.
On the other hand, West Indies would like to forget their T-20 World Cup memories and start afresh. West Indies who won the 2016 World Cup and played semifinal in 2018, managed to win only one match out of the four matches they played in the 2020 edition. For the West Indies, a lot of will depend on the players like Stafanie Taylor, Hayley Matthews, and Deandra Dottin. All of these can win the matches on their day.
But what is required in more consistency on the part of the senior members of the team?
Kaysia Schultz, a left-arm bowler from Guyana, is the only uncapped player to get a call-up. She, along with youngsters Shabika Gajnabi, an all-rounder, also from Guyana, and off-spinner Karishma Ramharack from Trinidad, is expected to gain vital international experience on the tour. Shakera Selman and Shamilia Connell will speer-head the seam bowling department for West Indies, while Afy Fletcher needs to lead the spin attack.
The absence of a seasoned campaigner like Anisha Mohammed will hunt the West Indies but on the other hand, youngsters can take this opportunity to prove themselves in the national colour. While England will start the series as favourites, West Indies, the dark horses of world cricket can create upsets on the given day.
Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Katie George, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt
West Indies Squad:
Stafanie Taylor (c), Afy Fletcher, Hayley Matthews, Aaliyah Alleyne, Cherry Ann Fraser, Natasha McClean, Shemaine Campbelle, Shabika Gajnabi, Chedean Nation, Britney Cooper, Sheneta Grimmond, Karishma Ramharack, Shamilia Connell, Chinelle Henry, Kaysia Schultz, Deandra Dottin, Lee Ann Kirby, Shakera Selman.
1st T20I – September 21, Monday
2nd T20I – September 23, Wednesday
3rd T20I – September 26, Saturday
4th T20I – September 28, Monday
5th T20I – September 30, Wednesday