England Opener Rory Burns Wary of West Indies Threat in July Test Series
Rory Burns of England walks off the field©AFP

England is bracing up for a ‘stiff test’ in the three-match series against the West Indies next month, according to opener Rory Burns who is wary of the visiting team’s potent pace attack. The Three Lions were beaten comprehensively beaten 2-1 in the most recent meeting between the two teams, in the Caribbean islands 18 months ago. Burns averaged only 24.16 in that series as he made his early steps in international cricket.

The three-Test series, still subject to final clearance from the British government, are set to mark the return of Test cricket as the sport emerges from months of lockdown caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Surrey opener Burns will be looking to regain his place at the top of the order after being sidelined since January with ankle ligament damage suffered during a warm-up game of football in Cape Town. “They’ve got a lot of good cricketers there and it’s going to be a stiff test no matter who comes,” Burns said on the Sky Sports podcast ‘The Cricket Show’.

West Indies had handed Joe Root’s men a 2-1 defeat when England travelled to the Caribbeans last year.

“The last time we played each other, they won, so they’re no slouches certainly,” Burns said.

“Their bowling attack caused us a lot of problems. They’re very skilful; they’ve got some pace. I remember walking around on the pitch of the first Test and seeing their bowlers going and thought, ‘this is going to be quite tasty!’.

Earlier this week, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul refused to tour England amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the visiting team still has the likes of Kemar Roach, who was the leading wicket-taker in the last series between the two sides. Oshane Thomas, Alzarri Joseph and Chemar Holder are also among 11 reserves set to travel to England.

The 29-year-old, who is coming off an ankle injury, is part of the 55-member group that has been asked by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to return to training, ahead of the West Indies Test series.

“The ankle is strong. I would’ve been able to start the county season, if that had gone ahead on time. That was really my first injury of any note in my career and so to pick it up at a time when you feel like you’re developing and moving along in the right direction, it was quite frustrating,” Burns said.

“It’s nice to be back now, have a bat in my hand and get back to it.”