LONDON, CMC – England have named an unchanged squad for their three-Test series against West Indies starting next month, with Barbadian fast-bowling sensation Jofra Archer still sweating on qualification.
National selector Ed Smith said the 23-year-old was not considered for selection, with the player’s county Sussex saying he was likely to qualify “at some point in March, 2019”.
England’s tour of the Caribbean runs from January 23 to March 10 and comprises three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals. It was hoped that with the England and Wales Cricket Board reducing its eligibility criteria from seven years to three, that Archer would be fast-tracked into the squad.
“At the moment Jofra Archer is not available for selection for the England squad so he wasn’t considered, so he’s not selected, so that’s it,” Smith was quoted as saying.
“If he becomes available, as it looks like he will do, in the reasonably near future, we think potentially in the early spring, then at that point we will start to consider the best squad with Jofra Archer available.
“Until that moment I wouldn’t speculate about that at all.”
Still buoyed by their recent triumph in Sri Lanka, England kept faith with the same 16-man squad for the white-ball series which opens at historic Kensington Oval on January 23.
The Joe Root-skippered side retains the likes of recent debutants Ben Foakes and opener Rory Burns, with veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad also included.
England’s record in the Caribbean is a poor one, having won just one series in the last 50 years – in 2004 when Michael Vaughan’s side dominated a four-match series, 3-0.
On their last tour of the Caribbean three years ago, they were held to a 1-1 draw after West Indies won the final Test inside three days at Kensington Oval.
In the ODI side, meanwhile, Sam Curran, Liam Dawson and Olly Stone were all left out while while left-arm seamer David Willey has returned following injury.
As expected, Eoin Morgan will lead the squad.
England have not lost an ODI series in the Caribbean in 20 years and have not lost to West Indies overall in just over a decade.
TEST – Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes
ODI – 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, Mark Wood.