LONDON: England have deferred the question of whether Jofra Archer will make their World Cup squad after naming an unchanged 15 for the ICC’s preliminary deadline.
Archer is set to make his England debut, however, after being included for next month’s ODI in Ireland and a T20I and five ODIs against Pakistan, potentially giving him seven outings to make his case.
Chris Jordan, Archer’s Sussex team-mate, is the other extra member in the expanded 17-man squad ODI to play Pakistan, having maintained a late push for World Cup consideration with his T20I performances in the Caribbean last month, despite last playing a 50-over international in 2016.
Joe Denly, whose last ODI appearance came in 2009, keeps his place as back-up spinning all-rounder ahead of Liam Dawson, although he could be among a small number of players, including Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran, who will feel the pressure if Archer performs well over the next few weeks.
A smaller party of 14 will take on Ireland in Dublin on May 3, followed by a T20I against Pakistan two days later. Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes — all regulars at their IPL franchises — have been rested, as has Chris Woakes, as part of managing a long-term knee problem.
Sam Billings and James Vince are included, to contest the second-reserve batting spot, with Alex Hales inked in as the designated spare batsman within the 15.
The potential inclusion of Archer, the Barbados-born all-rounder who qualified to represent England last month, has been the subject of much debate among the squad’s incumbent fast bowlers, but the decision by national selector Ed Smith will ensure peace for now, as well as setting up what is effectively a World Cup play-off for the last bowling spot.
Smith described Archer as a “very exciting talent”.
“The selection panel would like to give Jofra Archer the opportunity to stake a claim for the final World Cup squad, which will be announced in a little over a month,” Smith told Sky Sports News.
“He’s someone who has very quickly shown what he can do on a big stage. I like to keep things very simple on the selection panel: who’s available? Of those who are available, what’s the strongest squad that gives us the best chance to compete and play well? So, as soon as Jofra became available, we discussed whether we would select him in squads ... as soon as he became available, we have given him the opportunity.”
Soon after learning the news of his selection on Tuesday, Archer took 3 for 15 for Rajasthan Royals in their IPL defeat to Kings XI Punjab.
“He’s a very relaxed person, he has a very understated manner,” Smith said. “He was very excited about the opportunity. He obviously had a game to go and play for Rajasthan, which obviously went pretty well for him. So I think the most important fact is not necessarily what he said, even though he was very pleased and excited, but also what he did. Ultimately that’s the business we’re in.”
Those players selected by England who are currently at the IPL will be required to return by April 26. The final date for the World Cup squad to be confirmed is May 23.
“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,” Smith said. “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.
“The selection panel has been impressed with Jofra Archer’s performances in domestic and franchise cricket. He is a very talented and exciting cricketer. Chris Jordan, a regular in T20 squads over the past few years, has continued to develop as a cricketer — as we saw in the T20s in the West Indies. He fully deserves his return to the ODI squad.
“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.”
England preliminary World Cup squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
England squad for Pakistan ODI series: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
England squad for Ireland ODI/Pakistan T20I: Eoin Morgan (capt), Jofra Archer, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
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