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April 18, 2019

Archer given chance to stake World Cup claim


April 18, 2019

LONDON: England chief selector Ed Smith is confident the call-up of uncapped all-rounder Jofra Archer will have no adverse affect on team morale in the run-up to the World Cup.

Rising star Archer was included Wednesday in a 17-man squad for next month’s One-day Internationals against Ireland and Pakistan. The dynamic Barbados-born Archer was left out of the 15-man preliminary World Cup squad also announced by tournament hosts England.

But he could have as many as six One-day Internationals — one against Ireland and five against Pakistan — to stake his claim before England confirm their final World Cup squad on May 23.

Sussex paceman Archer, 24, has an English father and holds a British passport. He completed a three-year qualification period on March 17 after the England and Wales Cricket Board changed its residency rules.

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

Archer and another Barbados-born Sussex player Chris Jordan were both added to the 15-man squad that played a one-day series in the West Indies earlier this year. They were also included in the 14-strong party for a one-off Twenty20 against Pakistan.

Archer has been impressing in the Indian Premier League, where he took three for 15 for the Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday.

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

"In line with ICC regulations, we have to name a preliminary squad of 15 for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup before April 23.

"However, all 17 players named in the Royal London ODIs against Pakistan can stake a claim to be in the final 15-man squad, finalised at the end of that series." 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 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.

And former England batsman Smith, speaking to reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday, 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, top of the ODI rankings, will again be captained by former Ireland batsman Morgan. They are seeking their first men’s World Cup title. The last of their three losing final appearances was in 1992. England face Ireland in Dublin on May 3 before their home series against Pakistan. The World Cup is set to begin with England’s match against South Africa at The Oval on May 30.

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