ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS AND BOWL FIRST
Evening ladies and gents. After a long season that has seen England host two world tournaments, two Test series and a heck of a lot of domestic cricket – congratulations Essex and Nottinghamshire, so far – we’re here. The middle of September. Somehow, with two rounds of the Championship to play and six limited-overs internationals before cricket is actually over. Well, for a few weeks before the players fly out to Australia for the Ashes. Being an international cricketer is a hell of a gig, but it has its drawbacks. Nevertheless, we crack on.
A one-off T20i against the reigning T20 champions is a bit odd considering there were three against South Africa earlier this summer. But West Indies have travelled in force: the big guns in tow, including Ben Stokes vanquisher Carlos Brathwaite (in case you’d forgotten the name). None of the 13 in the squad were part of the Test series.
Handy stat time: of the three players that have two international T20 hundreds to their name, two of them will open the batting for the West Indies – Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis (points if you can guess the third). You know about Gayle – too much, probably – but Lewis is worth getting excited about. He chose Gayle as his mentor (on the pitch) and has been pegged as a big deal since his time with the Under 19s.
As for England, Tom Curran – soon-to-be “Hobart Hurricanes’ Tom Curran” – looks set to continue in the XI after impressing in the second and third T20i against South Africa. Kid’s got stones (and more T20 deals that you can shake a stick at). Wonderfully talented. Sensational hair, too.
As you’ll have probably already heard, there’s no Ben Stokes. He’s being rested for this match at his home ground. Sure, rest him. But why for this? Be crazy if he plays all five ODIs. Ah well. The more we know, the less we understand.