West Indies may not have won a Test series in England since the 80s, but there are more positives awaiting the visitors despite the contest being the first of its kind amid the pandemic. And head coach Phil Simmons, expressing his confidence, reckoned that the team will be all geared up to retain the trophy they had lifted 18 months back at home.
The Test series, slated to begin from July 3, will be played behind closed doors and hence there won't be thousands of Englishmen cheering for the home crowd.
"I don't know if it will increase our chances, because both teams are under the same umbrella - for want of a better word," Simmons was quoted by ESPNCricinfo. "The nice part for us is that 20,000 Englishmen raving for England, and that crowd support, it's not there for them. So that in a way will help us, so it's good from that point of view."
Moreover, England have not played a single competitive cricket halfway through the summer.
"It's a plus, because England hasn't come from a tour recently, and we've just been playing cricket at home. Because in a normal situation we would have been coming from camps and England would have been halfway through their season and the series would have been going on right now. So I think that is a plus for us, because it evens out things a little bit, with the fact they haven't been playing competitive cricket for a while also."
West Indies had defeated England 2-1 in their last meeting in the Caribbean in 2018. However, the current visiting side won't be without three players who were part of the previous series - batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer, and allrounder Keemo Paul. Despite their absence, Simmons reckons that this is the best team that West Indies could assemble and they would be raring to defend the title next month.
"I think we have the best squad we can have," he said. "Unfortunately a few guys decided not to come but we are here with the best squad that we can have here. And from the way we've started our work, the guys have been putting in, I think we'll be ready and looking to defend our trophy.
"Even with everything around and having to be conscious of the whole situation and the way the world is now, we still have to be mindful that we are preparing for a Test series against one of the top Test nations in the world. So we still have to put everything in place and do everything correctly."