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May 10, 2019

England will be‘better team’ with Archer, says Plunkett


May 10, 2019

LONDON: Liam Plunkett said England would be a “better team” if Jofra Archer made it into their World Cup squad after his fellow fast bowler again impressed on international duty.

Archer continued his late bid for a World Cup berth with a hostile opening spell against Pakistan at The Oval on Wednesday.

Archer was not included in England’s preliminary squad for the World Cup but could force his way into their final 15 via his displays in this five-match series. “He’s obviously a class act,” Plunkett, one of England’s established quicks, told reporters afterwards.

“He showed today, he’s rocked up and bowled really nicely with pace and smashed the right good areas, picked up a wicket in the first few overs, beating the left-hander (Imam) on the outside edge.”

Plunkett, England’s other wicket-taker in a four-over spell of one for 27 on what is now his Surrey home ground, added: “It looks easy for him, he ambles in and bowls 93 mph, he makes it look effortless.”

Questions have been raised about the effect on team morale of catapulting Archer, only recently qualified on residency grounds, into England’s World Cup squad. But Plunkett said: “With him in your squad, you’re going to be a better team.

“Whoever performs best should be in the squad. If it wasn’t Jofra, someone else would be knocking on the door... If they come in and bowl well, they deserve to be there.” On Tuesday, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff say “anyone” should be dropped to make sure Archer had a place in the World Cup squad.

The series continues at Southampton on Saturday, with Plunkett and his team-mates looking to prove their World Cup worth to England selection chief Ed Smith. “You don’t want the rain, you don’t want it (to) come, but all you can do when (you) get a chance again is be your own selector and perform,” said Plunkett, citing the advice he’d received from former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, once his coach at Yorkshire but now in charge of Archer at Sussex. “That’s what ‘Dizzy’ (Gillespie) used to say, ‘be your own selector’. If you’re picking up wickets that’s what you’ll do.”

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