England prepare to go West


England have got one or two points to prove on the pitch after all that has gone on off it. Fortunately for them they get to do it against the West Indies rather than any of the gathering forces or waning superpowers elsewhere in the world. Martin Johnson’s new-look England had to establish themselves against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 2008 and, unsurprisingly, were triply penetrated.

Strauss has carefully reminded us that the West Indies are full of “dangerous cricketers”. Assuming this means that they are dangerous at cricket rather than actual criminals, he is right. He also correctly identifies the chief suspects in Shiv, Gayle, Sarwan and Edwards. However he neglects to mention that the rest of the team should not trouble a brow. Until Bravo comes back, that is.

Besides their captain, Sidebottom and Pietersen will be Bucknored (the extreme opposite of ‘ignored’) as the former returns from an Achilles injury and the latter from a pride injury. England desperately need some kind of a bowling attack to gel during this series, and Sideboob must surely be key to that. Pietersen faces a new challenge. We all know he can cope with the pressure of responsibility, but can he cope with pressure arising from the loss of it?


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