With a restructured batting line-up Dwayne Bravo's team looks to secure early momentum
Acclimatisation to the conditions will be crucial when West Indies takes on Australia in a day-night warm-up fixture on Saturday in Cardiff.
West Indies will be smarting over its disappointing show against Australia in February 2013, where it was thumped 5-0 in the One-Day International series. Under a new leader in Dwayne Bravo, the challenge will be to cope with the weather in England at this time of the year.
Many players in the West Indian side have been a part of the recently concluded Indian Premier League, and will be looking to carry their good form into the tournament. Its batting woes were exposed against Australia and Bravo admitted to “structuring their batting a lot differently” in this tournament.
The presence of quality all-rounders – Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy -- will hold the key for West Indies. Kemar Roach’s pace and Ravi Rampaul’s ability to contain runs coupled with Sunil Narine’s variations will pose a threat to Australia.
West Indies has had little success in multi-team events since its ICC Champions Trophy win in 2004 till it won the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka last year and Bravo felt that the team would use the momentum from that win in England and Wales.
Unlike West Indies, Australia, with all its bases covered has little to worry about. Some players from the Champions Trophy side will also be a part of the Ashes, and Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, is hopeful that the tour begins on a high.
Australia, well balanced with a selection of seam bowlers to choose from and an experienced batting unit, has a great record in the past editions of Champions Trophy. Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson and Aaron Finch are coming on the back of successful stints at the IPL.
Both sides will be looking to settle further into a strong combination ahead of their league stage encounters.
Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Matthew Wade (wkt), George Bailey (vice-capt), David Warner, Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Adam Voges, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (capt), Denesh Ramdin (wkt), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith.