England v West Indies: Ben Stokes says changes made with Ashes in mind

In addition to the fresh look of the England team, the home side will be boosted by Stokes’ fitness to fulfil the role of all-rounder.

The 33-year-old had surgery on a long-term left-knee problem in November, tentatively returned to bowling during the 4-1 series defeat in India earlier this year and has continued his rehabilitation in three County Championship matches for Durham.

“I can finally say that I can play the role that I’ve been known for, for 10 years, which is batting and being that fourth seamer,” said Stokes.

“I’ve worked very, very hard to get into this position and I know how much me as that fourth seamer adds to the team. I’m really excited to get going this week.”

West Indies are touring England for the first time since the Covid summer of 2020, when they lost 2-1 in matches played behind closed doors. In their last Test they stunned Australia at the Gabba in January to earn a 1-1 series draw.

Their batting is largely inexperienced and includes 23-year-old debutant Mikyle Louis, who will become the first West Indian Test cricketer from the island of St Kitts.

But, even without the injured Kemar Roach, the tourists have a strong pace-bowling quartet of Jason Holder, Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Shamar Joseph.

“Our own consistency of performance throughout this series is what is important,” said captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

“Our batters are young and exciting. The more games they play they will be better. They have a lot of talent and we are full behind them.”

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