Denesh Ramdin (Left) and Alastair Cook (Right) will look to lead their respective sides to a victory © Getty Images
Denesh Ramdin (Left) and Alastair Cook (Right) will look to lead their respective sides to a victory © Getty Images

A depleted West Indies will host a new-look England in the first Test at Antigua from April 13. Neither side enjoyed a successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, while both teams have opted for a number of fresh names in the side for the start of a new cricket season.England tour of West Indies 2015: Antigua declares half holiday for first day of Test

Historically, an England-West Indies contest has had its conflicts. The infamous “grovelling” episode has gone down in cricketing lore as one of the most controversial statements made by an opposing captain against the West Indies. It was also one of the most ill-fated ones, as the Caribbean side went out all guns blazing to humble England at home. Of course, this was decades ago. England tour of West Indies 2015: Jonathan Trott ready to prove himself again

Since then there have been individual flashes of brilliance; Brian Lara’s 375 came in Antigua itself in 1994. He broke his own record 10 years later against the same opposition at the same venue. One batsman who might take particular inspiration from this is Darren Bravo, widely regarded as an imitation of Lara. Denesh Ramdin believes experience would be key to success

West Indies cricket has been in a rut for some time now. Without the likes of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, they lack the senior pros who might have leant some solidity to the side. Captained by Denesh Ramdin, West Indies will once again look to Shivnarine Chanderpaul to do the bulk of the scoring. The diminutive but evergreen southpaw will be West Indies’ major hope, and if England manage to sort him out early the contest is likely to be a one-sided one. James Tradwell unhappy with weak opposition in tour game

For their part, England have a lot to prove. Alastair Cook was dumped from the One-Day International (ODI) side, and will want to come back strongly after a prolonged run of poor form even in Tests. Alongside Cook, Jonathan Trott’s return to the side will be the most-scrutinised. Youngsters Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, and Mark Wood will know that a few good performances here will go a long way in becoming regulars for the side, while failure will almost certainly spell doom. England’s warm-up match vs St. Kitts Invitational XI ends in a lame draw

On the whole it will be interesting to see how England shape up in the Caribbean. They are undoubtedly the favourites going into the Test series, with West Indies’ poor Test record meaning that they are the underdogs in their own backyard. A strong response from West Indies will be good news for world cricket. At the moment though, all eyes are on Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015Kevin Pietersen is the best player I have ever played with, reveals Andrew Strauss

Squads:

West Indies: Denesh Ramdin (c&wk), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Darren Bravo, Jerome Taylor, Marlon Samuels, Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kemar Roach, Devon Smith

England: Alastair Cook (c), Jos Buttler (wk), James Anderson, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott

Time: 2:00pm GMT | 7:30pm IST

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and cricket fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @ShiamakUnwalla)