England, placed No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's Team Rankings, came into the one-day international series against Windies as favourites, but after two completed games (the third match was washed out), there's been little to pick between the sides.
Windies lost the first ODI despite posting a total of 360/8, but bounced back to successfully defend 289/6 in the second game. The No.9 ranked side are showing steady signs of improvement in the lead up to CWC 2019, which starts on 30 May in England.
MATCH ABANDONED!— ICC (@ICC) February 25, 2019
The third ODI of the series between Windies and England in Grenada is abandoned without a ball being bowled. pic.twitter.com/QLRMed046h
Interim coach Richard Pybus is confident that his side can take down any team on their day. "I know the right West Indies combination with a fully focused side can beat anyone on their day," he said. "I wasn't at the World Cup qualifiers but, with the group of guys we have now, we feel confident we could take down anyone on [our] day."
Pybus acknowledged that there were still some areas to work on, mainly the need to develop a sense of familiarity between the team-members, many of whom are young and still new to the side.
"Just really getting the guys playing combinations well," said Pybus when asked about what areas Windies needed to work on. "Getting used to each other. Some of the lads haven't played a great deal of cricket together. So getting this squad comfortable with each other.
"We've got some guys like Shai [Hope], Johnny [John Campbell] coming in ... Nicholas Pooran ... they just haven't played collectively as a team. That's really important, so clarity around roles and supporting the guys in terms of them being able to deliver their skills."
One massive positive for Windies has been the form of Chris Gayle. The 39-year-old, who is set to retire after the World Cup, has made scores of 135 and 50 in his two digs this series, showing his expertise at the top of the order.
"I can't speak on behalf of the selectors but I think Chris has put forward a very resounding case," Pybus said. "He's just class really. It's always great having guys in your side who are a bit scary for the opposition who know full well what they can deliver.
"In those first two games, Chris was getting a feel for a spongy wicket batting first. It can be a game of two halves in Barbados. He was playing himself through. But, as we have all seen in T20, he can attack that first Powerplay brutally. On good wickets he'll be going hard pretty early."