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Archer misses World Cup cut but remains on England radar

Updated April 18, 2019

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LONDON: England national selector Ed Smith talks during the press conference at Lord’s on Wednesday.—Reuters
LONDON: England national selector Ed Smith talks during the press conference at Lord’s on Wednesday.—Reuters

LONDON: England have not picked uncapped all-rounder Jofra Archer in their preliminary 15-man World Cup squad but have named him in squads for the One-day Internationals against Pakistan and Ireland.

Barbados-born Archer, who shone for Sussex last season and in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 competition for Hobart Hurricanes, is eligible for national selection under new England and Wales Cricket Board residency rules.

The 24-year-old could get a World Cup call-up if he impresses in the warm-up games as changes can be made to the squad until May 23, seven days before their tournament opener against South Africa at The Oval.

Joe Denly, whose last ODI appearance came in October 2009, retained his place in the World Cup group as a backup spinning all-rounder.

Although he could be among the pool of players, including Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran, who will feel the pressure if Archer performs well over the next few weeks.

Archer’s ability to bowl at more than 90 miles per hour and his lower-order power-hitting skills have earned him a number of high-profile admirers, including England regulars Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

“The selection panel has been impressed with Jofra Archer’s performances in domestic and franchise cricket. He is a very talented and exciting cricketer,” national selector Ed Smith said.

England play Ireland in a one-off One-day International on May 3 before their five-match ODI series and the lone Twenty20 International against Pakistan.

“In line with ICC [International Cricket Council] regulations, we have to name a preliminary squad of 15 for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup before April 23,” Smith added. “However, all 17 players named in the ODIs against Pakistan can stake a claim to be in the final 15-man squad, finalised at the end of that series.”

Fast bowler Chris Jordan, Archer’s Sussex team-mate, could also make a comeback to the ODI setup against Pakistan, despite playing his last 50-overs game for England in September 2016.

“Chris Jordan, a regular in IT20 squads over the past few years, has continued to develop as a cricketer — as we saw in the IT20s in the West Indies. He fully deserves his return to the ODI squad,” Smith said.

“With regard to resting players, we are conscious of managing player workloads leading into such an important summer so that players are in the best possible condition for the World Cup. That was also a factor in the way we have selected these three squads.”

Smith, meanwhile, is confident the call-up of Archer will have no adverse affect on team morale in the run-up to the World Cup.

Archer, who has has an English father and holds a British passport, completed a three-year qualification period on March 17 after the ECB changed its residency rules.

Under the previous system, he would not have been eligible until the winter of 2022 after a seven-year residency.

Several England quicks who are vying with Archer for a place in the World Cup squad have expressed concerns about his possible inclusion.

Chris Woakes, asked on Tuesday if it was fair that Archer might replace someone who had been an England regular for years, said: “Fair probably is not the right word. It probably wouldn’t be fair, morally, but at the same time it’s the nature of international sport.”

Last month David Willey said he was unsure “whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they’re available”.

But star all-rounder Ben Stokes, a team-mate of Archer’s at T20 franchise side Rajasthan, recently described the Sussex player as one of the most ‘naturally gifted’ bowlers he had seen.

Smith insisted: “Chris Woakes is an outstanding man and he answered the question instinctively. He said specifically he did not think the inclusion of Jofra Archer would not disrupt the squad, that’s also the view of the captain Eoin Morgan and (coach) Trevor Bayliss.”

Smith, turning to comments made by Durham and England fast bowler Mark Wood, added: “Mark Wood, another good man, very loyal to his friends in the team, he basically said ‘I really respect and admit this team and that team-mate and it would be tough on them to miss out’.

“You would want a player to be loyal to their friends and colleagues, people they’ve been in the trenches with.

“I have nothing against what they’ve said and I have a very high degree of confidence that Eoin and Trevor have a good handle on team culture and endorse this decision.”

England squads:

World Cup: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Pakistan ODI series: Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Bairstow, Buttler, Curran, Denly, Chris Jordan, Hales, Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Root, Roy, Stokes, Willey, Woakes, Wood.

Ireland ODI and Pakistan T20: Morgan, Archer, Sam Billings, Curran, Denly, Jordan, Hales, Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Root, Roy, James Vince, Willey, Wood.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2019