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Stokes not underestimating West Indies

West Indies may have a much-changed squad for the series against England, but Ben Stokes knows they still pose a real threat.

News 02 Mar 2017, 23:08 IST
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England's Ben Stokes takes a diving catch

England go into the opening one-day international of their three-match series in the Caribbean with nine wins from their last 10 completed 50-over contests against West Indies, but Ben Stokes insists the tourists will not underestimate their hosts.

Antigua is the setting for the first ODI clash between the two sides since a 2014 encounter at the same venue, the visitors winning on that occasion by 25 runs.

While England have continued to improve in the format since then, West Indies have struggled for consistency and their side will have an inexperienced look to it due to a change in selection policy.

Nevertheless, Stokes is adamant England will not be complacent ahead of Friday's opener.

"We can't be going into this game thinking it's just going to be a walk in the park," Stokes told the BBC.

"We know how talented the West Indies team are - their batsmen can hit the ball out of the ground whenever they choose to and they've always had good quick bowlers."

England look set to be without seamer Jake Ball after he picked up a knee injury in a warm-up match, with Steven Finn likely to take his place.

Sam Billings, meanwhile, is set to take over at the top of the order, as Alex Hales continues to recover from the broken hand he suffered against India.

"Jake hasn't pulled up as well as we thought so he's going to try and get himself ready for the second and third game, and Alex Hales is obviously in and around the squad as part of his rehab," England captain Eoin Morgan told the BBC.

"He's in a better position than anyone else, he's got the all-clear to go ahead and push things as far as he can so it's up to him to get his fitness right in order to be selected.

"He [Hales] is not [ready for Friday], he's only had one practice session since he's had the all clear. 

"There is a chance [Billings will start], he might get injured tomorrow or some things might change but we'll wait 'til the toss to announce the team."

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