London:The West Indies will tour England next year as replacements for Zimbabwe in the first Test series of the summer, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Wednesday.
The turbulent political situation in Zimbabwe forced their withdrawal, leaving England's cricket authorities to initially turn to Sri Lanka as a replacement.
But their participation was scuppered when the majority of leading Sri Lankan players signed up to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League, which clashes with the two-Test series in England.
The West Indies were approached and after weeks of negotiations, they have agreed to step in, at the start of a summer which also includes England hosting the Twenty20 World Cup and an Ashes series.
"The West Indies are always popular visitors and this completes a wonderful summer of cricket," said ECB Chief Executive David Collier.
"The ECB are most grateful for the excellent support and cooperation provided by the West Indies Board, with whom we have developed an excellent and warm relationship."
The West Indies will play their first Test at Lord's on May 6-10, with the second at Chester-le-Street on May 14-18.
They will then compete in a three-match one-day series at Headingley on May 21, in Bristol on May 24 and at Edgbaston on May 26.