The Caribbean has always been one of the most popular destinations for supporters of the England cricket team, with the beautiful scenery, golden sandy beaches and laid-back culture of the islands in the sun providing a superb backdrop to some memorable cricket action.

Of course, the West Indies may not be the team of world-beaters that they used to be back in the 1980s when Viv Richards and co would demolish visiting bowling attacks and their own battery of fearsome fast bowlers would threaten the body as much as the stumps.

Nonetheless, the Caribbean remains a very tough place for England to win. Since Tony Greig's team won there in 1974, England have enjoyed just one series win away against the West Indies, when Steve Harmison was dishing out some of the kind of medicine England had been on the receiving end of down the years as his lethal fast bowling steered the tourists to a 3-0 win. The home side won 1-0 in 2009 and the last trip in 2015 was a 1-1 draw.

Indeed, while the West Indies have not won in England since 1988 and have lost every series there since 1995, they are definitely much better on their own turf.

For example, while they recently became the first side to lose a Test by an innings to Bangladesh, they bowled the same opponents out for just 43 last summer, ensuring England didn't have the lowest score of the year.

Moreover, while the current West Indies side may not have players like Sobers, Greenidge, Richards or Lara and lacks bowlers of the calibre of Marshall, Holding and Ambrose, it did have the outstanding all-rounder of 2018 in skipper Jason Holder. English fans will also be wary of the pace of Shannon Gabriel and the stylish batsmanship of Shai Hope, whose fine series in England in 2017 led to him being named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year.

The first Test starting on January 23rd, will be in Bridgetown, Barbados, where the famous Sabina Park has seen many memorable matches down the years. Older fans may particularly remember England's extraordinary win there in 1994, which was the first home defeat for the Windies at the venue since 1935. Just a game after being famously bowled out for just 46 in Trinidad, England secured a 208-run win. Alex Stewart was the biggest hero, making a century in both innings.

Antigua will stage the second Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, where England's last visit in 2015 saw James Anderson pass Sir Ian Botham's record as England's highest wicket taker.

The final Test will take place at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia. England have not yet played a Test match there, but they have played one-day internationals at the venue, including in the 2007 World Cup.

After the Tests, there will be five one-day internationals, with the first two in Barbados, two more in Grenada and then a return to St Lucia for the final match. Indeed, the Darren Sammy Oval will see the teams compete in all three formats, as it then hosts the first T20 before two more are played in St Kitts.

There have been some unforgettable tours of the Caribbean in years gone by. With England looking to hit top form with red and white ball alike before the World Cup and Ashes, this one will be a particularly mouth-watering prospect.



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