I know that this is an outrageous prediction, but I do have reasons for it -
I'm not just an Englishman who blindly thinks his team is going to win as
people who read my articles before and during last summer's series will know.
The West Indies are very strong at home and haven't lost a home series for
21 years, but at this moment in time, they are at their most vulnerable and
a decent side can beat them. England won the first test in 1990 and should
have gone 2-0 up (rain stopped them) before they subsequently lost the
series 2-1. Since then, Australia have come close in 1991 and if South Afica
hadn't lost their last 8 wickets for 25 runs in 1992, they would have posted
a famous victory.
Captain, Richie Richardson is knackered and resting, and his pacemen are not
what they used to be. Ian Bishop is injured, Courtney Walsh is no better
than ordinary, and the two Benjamins and Cummins are hardly at the sort of
standard that we're used to from a West Indies attack. This just leaves
Curtley Ambrose to shoulder the majority of the work.
The pitches no longer favour the West Indies style and in fact, the opening
test will be played on an incredibly slow pitch at Sabina Park, Jamaica.
Even West Indian commentator Tony Cozier has said that England's chances are
better than usual due to the weariness of Richardson, the inadequacies of
the West Indies bowling attack and the unfavourable pitches.
Looking at England's squad fills me with hope because we've actually picked
a varied set of bowlers who I'm actually confident about (Malcolm, Fraser,
Salisbury, Tufnell and Watkin with Lewis, Caddick and Igglesden). The
batsmen include Smith, Atherton, Ramprakash, Hussain, Maynard, Thorpe and
Stewart with Hick hoping to make up for 1991's failures.
The major thing against England is inexperience, but with a new spirit in
the side and the disappearance of the laughable Ted Dexter, we've actually
got a team which in 3 months time we might be proud of!
So, come on England, don't let us down!
Computing Officer, LS Support Group, Social Statistics Research Unit,
The City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK