When the West Indies and England will face each other on July 8th, it will be a moment to remember for the ages to come. Unprecedented times require unprecedented decisions. ECB being brave and efficient enough chalked out a plan and West Indies reciprocated. And that marked the start of cricket after a long and painful gap due to the pandemic.
For the series, the home team is obviously favourite. Accustomed to the conditions and having a solid group around makes England a team to beat in home conditions. But West Indies has got some flair too. The last time they came to England, the miracle of Headingly happened where a certain Shai Hope shined and got West Indies home on what was a memorable day.
West Indies lately has been an improved test side. Apart from the drubbing they got from India back home, where Bumrah inflicted agony over the WI batters, they have got some talented batsmen. Their bowling though has been impressive.
The captain Jason Holder is having a dream run in bowling and is ably supported by a feisty Shanon Gabriel. Kemar Roach with his experience and raw pace will come in handy too. Overall, though the England team is still a favourite, West Indies can cause an upset or two.
West Indies tour of England: More Than Just a Test Series
But is the series really about who wins or loses? When the COVID 19 was wreaking havoc, cricket in the near future seemed an impossible task. The lives who were suffering day by day, the agony, the stress, a live sport seemed just a wish than a reality. But slowly, as the world is trying to find its feet, sport is resuming.
Live sport as a healer is hugely underrated. And in times such as this, the cricketing World needs a series like this. The sight of James Anderson wrists leaving the ball with an upright seem, the defence of Joe root, the iconic lbw appeal of Stuart broad, the bouncers of Shanon Gabriel. The fiery stare from Kemar Roach and then the Zen-like Jason Holder. It will be a series to remember.
West Indies cricket though, has to be commended for agreeing to tour amidst these COVID 19 crises. They agreed to take the risk and ECB is doing their best to provide a safe environment for them.
So when Root and Holder will come on the ground, for the toss, a new chapter will be written. New COVID rules no spectators, no subtle claps from the spectators and no Barmy Army. The winner though, for this series is not as important as the context itself. A struggling world, people in crises of many kinds, if the cricket can provide some sort of relief, the game of cricket will be much much richer.