Few things in sport are as exciting as watching a 90mph bowler and Corey Collymore insists his four West Indian speedsters can overwhelm England’s two on Friday.
The Caribbean side have long been renowned for producing destructive quicks – think Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh – but the well began to noticeably dry following the turn of the century.
However, in Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell and the recalled Andre Russell, they have four paceman all capable of topping the magical 90mph barrier.
England boast two of their own in Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, making Friday’s contest in Southampton one of the most eagerly-anticipated games of the tournament.
“We have quick bowlers too so it should be a lively game,” said bowling coach Collymore – who also used to bowl around the 90mph mark in his early career.
“We have shown what we can do with our fast bowlers, we are good enough to take wickets with the new ball and then go from there.
“I don’t think many people like the short stuff, whether it is England or the West Indies. If you find a batsman that has a weakness to it, then you go after that.
“The West Indies have always produced fast bowlers. The two nations that has always had talented fast bowlers for me are the West Indies and Pakistan.
“From years gone by, that was something we prided ourselves on and now you see we have some more coming through.”
All eyes will be on Archer as he prepares to face the West Indies for the first time. The 24-year-old bowled the fastest spell ever seen by an Englishman in ODI cricket against Bangladesh last week and he has six wickets in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup so far.
However, when he opens at the Hampshire Bowl he will be confronted by the unique challenge of taking on Chris Gayle.
While Archer has intimidated batsman in his young international career, 39-year-old Gayle has a strong recent record against England – belting 39 sixes against them in the five-match ODI series earlier this year – and Collymore does not expect him to be so nervy.
“Chris thrives on that. I have known him since he was 16 and he has always loved a challenge. He has always enjoyed the challenge of fast bowling so I expect him to relish that,” he added.
“I have known Archer for a while and I saw Wood in the Caribbean last year. They are both very impressive, as we have seen throughout this tournament.
“I did work with him [Archer] when he was a lot younger in Barbados. He was very impressive, the skills he shows now are ones we always had so are expecting more of the same from him.”