For England’s bowlers, the most brutal part of their tour of the Caribbean could be yet to come. The final two Twenty20 games of the tour take England to Warner Park in St Kitts, and some of the smallest boundaries in international cricket – just 63 metres from the middle over the straight boundary.
“It’s going to be a challenge but it is the same for both sides and the breeze knocks of a good 10, 15, 20 metres off one side as well,” said David Willey, who played his first game of the tour in the first T20 international. “As a bowler, you have to be smart and try to get them to hit to the long side if there is one or at least into the wind. It could come down to who bowls as smartly as they can.”
That means trying to “use the breeze, use the short boundaries and target them as much as possible. The same goes for the bowling side, both sides want to be as smart as they can and that will have a big impact on the result.”
For Willey, and the rest of England’s attack, the immediate prize is securing this T20 series, which would be the first that England have won on this troubled tour. Yet the real prize will be securing a World Cup berth, a matter complicated by Jofra Archer qualifying on March 17. As the sole touring England bowler not to play a game in the ODI series, the elevation of Archer could threaten Willey, whose ability to swing the new ball, and the variety he brings as a left-armer, have made him integral to the squad since making his debut in the very first game after the 2015 World Cup.