On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, our panel of writers sat down to pick a squad for England’s upcoming Test tour of the Caribbean.
Following a 4-0 series defeat to Australia in the Ashes, there are likely to be changes for the squad that will take on the West Indies in three Tests in March.
Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker, WCM magazine editor Jo Harman and Wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner joined host Yas Rana to form an 18-man squad for the tour.
For their batting options, they settled on Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Dan Lawrence and Joe Clarke. In there as keeper-batter options are Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes.
On Lees, the Durham opener, Yas said: “Opening in Test cricket is so hard and looking at the numbers recently, openers are averaging the lowest they have done since the 1900s – between 1900 to 1909. It’s really difficult and if England are going to go for someone new I’d rather it be someone who’s a bit more confident in their game, has more cricket under their belt, rather than asking another youngster to learn on the job.”
In regards to Clarke, the uncapped Notts batter, Phil said: “He’s probably the most talented batter in English cricket to not have received a cap at any level.”
The bowling options included are James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Saqib Mahmood, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Jack Leach and Matt Parkinson.
Mahmood missed out on selection for the Ashes, but our panel found a place for him in this squad, with Phil explaining: “I think reverse swing in the West Indies is always useful, a bit of pace through the air. He would feature in a Test match if he was out there.”
Listen to the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast to hear our panel’s full selection debate and learn why certain players missed out and why.