One really can’t be sure, in this pandemic day and age, whether a cricket series will actually go ahead until it starts. In the last week we’ve had England’s entire ODI squad get landed in quarantine after a rash of positive tests, and then Sri Lanka’s series against India get delayed by a few days after Sri Lankan staff members caught the bug during their England tour.
But in St Lucia at least, as in a number of places across the Caribbean, the corona threat has been largely contained. The visiting Australians will play the West Indies here in five Twenty20 Internationals, before moving on to Barbados for three 50-over games. The latter series is important for the ODI Super League that sorts out qualification for the next ODI World Cup. But more important in the first instance are the T20 matches, with a T20 World Cup coming up in just a few months from now.
In that format, West Indies remain a formidable opponent. Plenty of bowling options, plenty of batting strikepower, with the most consistent six-hittlingly style of play in the world. The Australians are missing a few first-choice players who elected to avoid further weeks of lockdown and quarantine, but still have a broad squad of attacking players any of whom could be in consideration for the World Cup squad. In terms of what both these sides bring to the series, it shapes as a high-action contest.