Root's reminder on Windies' bowling depth

England's Joe Root is wary of the West Indies' potent bowling attack for their three-Test series

England captain Joe Root says his batsmen must prepare well if they are to get on top of a "formidable" West Indies bowling attack in the three-Test series starting next month in Southampton.

The Windies are banking heavily on their pace attack in England to defend the Wisden Trophy, claining it after winning 2-1 on home soil in the 2019 series.

Root said England could not afford to lower their guard against an attack which featured captain Jason Holder, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel - among the top 20 in official Test rankings.

"We are very aware of the skill West Indies have and what they will bring to this series," Root told BBC Sport.

"One thing that stood out was how formidable their bowling attack can be. It is really important we prepare well and we are ready for all of that."

Holder is also the top-ranked Test allrounder, followed by England's Ben Stokes, and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has predicted their rivalry will light up the series.

"Jase is one of the most well-respected guys in international cricket," Root said.

"He took the job at a young age and we are starting to see him at the peak of his career.

"He comes across as a very good bloke. I am looking forward to chatting to him from a social distance."

Root has said he would miss the series opener from July 8 if it clashed with the birth of his second child, with vice-captain Stokes on standby to take the reins.

Manchester hosts the last two tests of the series which will be played behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment.