Darren Gough '“ Selection posers for England ahead of first Test in West Indies

It will not be a straightforward Test series for England in the West Indies and they may trouble us at times '“ but, looking at our team, we should have too much.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: England assistant coach Paul Farbrace, middle, talks with captain Joe Root, left, and head coach Trevor Bayliss during net practice in Bridgetown. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: England assistant coach Paul Farbrace, middle, talks with captain Joe Root, left, and head coach Trevor Bayliss during net practice in Bridgetown. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

You look at England’s team and it is almost impossible to pick a starting 11. In Sri Lanka we had three spinners and three ’keepers in the side. I cannot see that happening in the Caribbean.

Jack Leach, who got 18 wickets in the winter and deserved his tour place, could easily miss out in the first Test in Barbados. Ben Foakes, the player of the series in Sri Lanka, could too if they decide to use Ben Stokes as the fourth seamer as opposed to the third.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The options seem to be Stokes as the fourth seamer with Sam Curran, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson. Or leave out Broad and put Curran and Foakes in and play Stokes as your third seamer, which he is good enough to do.

It is just how much you want his work-rate to be as he will be batting at five. It is an interesting one and a very hard selection.

Jonny Bairstow, after the fine 100 in Sri Lanka and 98 in the warm-up game, is a ‘cert’ at three.

It will be an interesting series. The West Indies just got battered in Bangladesh and were beaten by an innings and 200-odd runs in the last Test.

Yet it might surprise a lot of people that England have actually only won one Test series in the West Indies since 1968.

Pencilled in: Jonny Bairstow in action against the West Indies Board XI. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We lost 1-0 in 2009 and it was 1-1 in 2015, although I remember that we won 3-0 in 2003-04 – even though Brian Lara got 400.

But surely this is a great time to play them. Yes, they are rebuilding and are certainly better than they were four years ago. They have some very talented youngsters, but still have to find some consistency.

What they have got is a decent spinner in Jomel Warrican, who did well against England Lions last year and took a lot of wickets.

They also have some young fast bowlers and experience in Shannon Gabriel, who has serious pace but gets lots of injuries.

Oshane Thomas is only a young lad at 21, but is quick. Kemar Roach has been around the block, as has captain Jason Holder. They have a decent attack.

Batting-wise they do not seem to get enough runs despite having some very good, exciting one-day and T20 players in the CPL. Discipline seems to be a problem in the longer form.

England, with the experience they have with the ball, should be too much for them and I think it will be a comfortable enough win. The first Test will be so important. It is a great place to have a Test opener and is one of my favourite venues to play cricket with the amazing support – you never get that anywhere else in the world. It is a carnival.

When England tour it is ridiculous. There will be more English in the ground than anyone. I actually never played a Test series over there because of injuries. 1997 was going to be my first tour there, but I had a knee tendon operation.

But I did enjoy playing against the West Indies. Everyone used to say that I was like the first white West Indian to play for Yorkshire as I had that West Indian style to my game.

Growing up in the Eighties in my teens, the West Indies were the best team in the world with Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Clive Lloyd, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and Michael Holding.

They set the benchmark. I wanted to play my cricket like them. Hammer it when you bat and bowl as fast as you can.

Financially this is a massive series for the West Indies. The three Tests are at tourism hot-spots in Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia and it is a much-needed series as they are not as wealthy as a lot of other nations and lose a lot of players due to the timing of their domestic competition and tournaments around the world.

The players are probably on a third of what the England players earn. You can see why they lose them.

The West Indies need to keep building. If they can have a decent series it gives the islands some hope moving forward.

Stuart Law did a terrific job and gave them a bit of fight again. His decision to leave was not ideal, but it is time to rebuild.