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West Indies v England – Robinson and Overton in line for recalls as Paul Collingwood praises Stokes’ return to form


Coach praises team spirit after battling for advantage in Antigua and Barbados

Ollie Robinson and Craig Overton will be available for the third and final Test against the West Indies in Grenada, as England look to force a 1-0 win against a side that have held firm in the opening two matches of the series.
Robinson missed the first test after suffering a back spasm in the warm-up match and despite playing consistently and at full intensity ahead of the second match, he was not risked. Overton was scheduled to play in Barbados, but was dropped from the squad on the morning of the game due to illness.

The availability of both could lead to a revamped starting XI as England ponder the composition of an attack that has struggled on two flat and lifeless surfaces in the Caribbean over the past two weeks.

The most likely option seems to be Robinson and Overton returning to the starting XI in place of Chris Woakes, who struggled in the first two Tests, and Matt Fisher, who impressed on his debut but was only playing as a late substitute for Overton.
The more drastic option, and one that England can consider given the nature of the surfaces they have encountered so far in the Caribbean, is to play two spinners and give the spinner a long-awaited start at the wrist Matt Parkinson.

“We’ll have to assess him over the next few days,” said Paul Collingwood, the interim head coach. “Ollie Robinson hasn’t played in the first two Tests but it looks like he’s ready and available and Overton have overcome illness. We’ll look at the wicket at Granada and see what squad composition is suited to take 20 counters.”

Parkinson has been a regular with England teams for the past two years, including last year’s tours of Sri Lanka and India, during which he did not play a competitive game. He was part of the Lions squad in Australia before Christmas, but returned home before he could be drafted into the Ashes main team, after being overlooked for the unofficial test against Australia A in Brisbane – a game which brought together four of the team that took the field in Barbados, in Fisher, Mahmood, Alex Lees and Ben Foakes.

“[Parkinson] is as ready as it gets,” Collingwood said. “The simple fact is that in Covid times you don’t get matches in between. They’re back to back, that puts a lot of stress on the players and the downside is that we don’t have games in between to have preparation time for the guys who aren’t playing. We just have to make sure they have the time off, get their fitness steps up and have the overs under their belts.”

All told, Collingwood is full of praise for his England side after finishing a second successive Test match on the front foot as West Indies beat 65 overs on day five for the loss of just five wickets to hold for one draw. Although it was not a win for the touring side, it was another sign of progress for a team that has won just one of its last 16 Test matches.

“I think the way we did in the first two tests was very impressive. We’re getting closer,” Collingwood said. “We gave ourselves a little chance today. At the start of matchday five people were expecting a high score draw and I thought the way we handled it in the session in the morning proves what a state of mind we have. We want to go and win the game.

“It’s hard work, three test matches in a row asks a lot of you as players, but you can’t fault the attitude they showed in both matches. I think it was more impressive, to back up last week with top individual performances and as a team we never gave up.”

Collingwood has reserved particular praise for Ben Stokes, whose 11th Test century was an impressive run of 120 from 128 balls, with a stroke game reminiscent of his career-best 258 at Cape Town in 2016.

The rounds took place in front of more than one set of TV cameras, as Stokes is currently the subject of a TV documentary with a Caribbean camera crew filming his moves. It’s a detail Collingwood isn’t convinced is helpful for the all-rounder from Durham, although he can’t deny Stokes’ suitability for the starring role.

“He’s at the box office. Everyone was watching. You didn’t want to miss a bullet he was facing. In a lot of ways it shows where we are as a team that guys can go out and get They want to put on a show, get a win under their belt, and we have a great attitude right now.

“You can tell he wants to make a difference in the dressing room as a leader,” added Collingwood. “When he’s preparing like he’s doing right now, he’s definitely leading. He wants to come out in the middle and put in great performances. He wants the ball in hand and to score the points. That’s exactly what he’s doing right now. moment. It’s amazing when he has that kind of attitude because we all know he’s one of the best. Long may it continue.”

Cameron Ponsonby is a freelance cricket writer in London. @cameronponsonby