England can be expected to dispatch West Indies in the three-match Test series against West Indies, starting on May 17 at Lords, but their real test to preserve their top dog in ICC ranking would come against South Africa later in the year, according to former Test player turned media expert Mike Selvey.
Selvey in his column for The Guardian suggests England's number one position in Test cricket is down to their win in Colombo, which ensured that England held off South Africa by no more than a dash, a differential that will not be altered unless, unaccountably, they lose the series to West Indies.
There had been little for the England camp, beyond the consistent brilliance of the bowlers, to cheer for the rest of the winter as a toweling from India in the five-match one-day series before Christmas, with success coming only in a single Twenty20 game at the end of it, followed and then four successive defeats in Tests, the report adds.
Nine losses in the last eleven international matches in all formats does not offer a ringing endorsement for the England team that has the ambition of dominating not just Tests, but also other forms of the game, says Selvey.
This summer will test them to the full, with the forthcoming three Tests against West Indies and subsequent ODI series, followed by five ODIs against Australia and then what promises to be the meat of the summer, a three-Test series against South Africa and more ODIs, adds Selvey.
West Indies should be beaten comfortably and by the widest margin if the weather holds sufficiently. South Africa will be closer to call, but England should win that too, given home advantage, Selvey concludes. (ANI)