England have plenty of power hitters in Stokes’ lack. Jonny Bairstow has muscled his way having earned his opportunity during the Champions Trophy – which is bad fortune in June.
With all the best will in the world – or the very best spin-doctoring, if you prefer – this is not the sequel that fans could have hoped for. Stokes, for starters, is missing from England’s squad, a lack that has drawn understandable ire from Ian Botham, Durham’s chairman, as well as some rather more muted notes of objection from David Harker, the team chief executive, provided that the majority of the ticket sales in the Riverside have been heavily touted around the opportunity to see their local hero from the flesh.
As England looked to extract a measure of revenge Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to bowl first in the T20I at Durham.
Eighteen months have elapsed since that barmy night in Kolkata, when England and West Indies served up a orgasm for the ages. Carlos Brathwaite’s four sixes in an over off Ben Stokes provided the stunning denouement, but there were so many subplots threaded throughout a huge contest that it would have taken an entire five-match series to unravel all of the topics and feuds that erupted during a tempestuous competition.
That’s not to mention that the match will probably be lacking star quality, but – far from it. West Indies’ squad is unrecognisable in the Test side that fought valiantly but with not one player kept to the fray. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels would be the most prominent names in that respect, but the choice could be Gayle opener.
“There is too much to state,” said Brathwaite, West Indies’ captain, of this hard-hitting Lewis, whose last international outing was a matchwinning 125 not out off 62 balls against India. “There is no better person to learn more than Chris Gayle. He’s been smashing it in the CPL, smashing it against India, and he is a joy to watch.”
England vs West Indies Only T20 Highlights: