Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP
Photo by Randy Brooks / AFP

London: Uncapped pacer Jofra Archer was the only surprise absentee from England’s preliminary 15-man World Cup squad, although he was named in the team for warm-up games against Pakistan and Ireland. After a change in residency rules, Barbados-born Archer, 24, had qualified to play for England.  “The selection panel has been impressed with Archer’s performances in domestic and franchise cricket,” national selector Ed Smith was quoted as saying by BBC. “He is a talented and exciting cricketer,” Smith remarked.

Earlier, England pacer Mark Wood had also compared England’s possible selection of Jofra Archer to the signing of Faustino Asprilla by Newcastle in their foiled nineties title bid. Archer’s inclusion had been the talk of county dressing rooms at the start of the 2019 season, not least because accommodating such a special talent could potentially damage the equilibrium created over a four-year cycle of success that has seen England dominate the one-day international scene. “It’s a tough question. Do you change a winning team that has been No 1 for four years? He is obviously a world-class player. I was speaking about this a little bit with the lads at Durham because they were asking me,” Wood was qouted as saying by Mail online.

“Doesn’t that change the dynamic? Does it mix it up? All of a sudden, you lose the momentum and drop down. There is no doubt that Jofra is a world-class player. He plays in the hardest tournaments, the IPL and the Big Bash, and excels. He handles the pressure. “But would I want to see someone like a Liam Plunkett who has been our best bowler for three years left out? No. Would I want to see myself left out? Obviously not. Would I want to see David Willey, who I am close friends with and someone who gives you a left-arm option, left out? No. Would I want to see Chris Woakes, another friend who has taken loads of wickets, left out? No. Or Tom Curran, who has bowled well. It is hard to see. Does anyone deserve to be left out? I don’t know.”

Archer’s name is among 17 travelling to Dublin for the May 3 ODI and then take on the 2017 Champions Trophy-winning Pakistanis over a five-match series.  Archer, currently playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals, will now look to impress in the warm-up games as changes to squad can be made until May 23. Meanwhile, Joe Denly and Tom Curran have found themselves a place in the England World Cup squad. Denly hails from Kent whereas Tom Curran hails from Surrey. England will play a match with Ireland on May 3 before a five-match series against Pakistan. The preliminary World Cup squad is unchanged from the winter one-day series against the West Indies.

England WC squad

Eoin Morgan (Captain), 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 and Mark Wood.

Jofra Archer’s selection wouldn’t be fair morally, says Chris Woakes

LONDON: It would “not be fair morally” for England to pick the uncapped Jofra Archer in their World Cup squad, says fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes. “If he was to come in and someone was to miss out, it would be extremely unfortunate,” Woakes told BBC Sport. Asked if it was fair that Archer could replace someone who has been part of the squad for three years, Woakes 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.” Barbados-born fast bowler Archer, whose father is English, has a UK passport. He qualified earlier this year after the England and Wales Cricket Board changed its residency rules. Rated one of the most valuable limited-overs players in the world because of his 90mph bowling, athletic fielding and aggressive batting, he is currently playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

England coach Trevor Bayliss said Archer will feature in the one-day internationals against Ireland and Pakistan in May, with England also naming a 17-man squad for those matches on Wednesday. Woakes said: “We’ve been a tight-knit group for the last two to three years, played some really strong cricket, won a lot of series “Apart from a personal level, I wouldn’t want to see any of my mates and team-mates miss out. “But it’s the nature of international cricket that there is always someone knocking on the door. “I don’t think it would disrupt the team because everyone would find a way to move on and we’re trying to win a World Cup for England – that’s the bigger picture.”