LONDON, CMC – Highly-regarded Barbadian fast bowler, Jofra Archer, was yesterday ignored for England’s preliminary 15-man World Cup squad but has been named to face Ireland and Pakistan, leaving the 24-year-old still with an outside chance of turning out at the ICC showpiece starting next month.
Selectors opted for an unchanged unit meaning there was no space for Archer, who qualified to represent England last month after England and Wales Cricket Board amended its eligibility criteria.
However, Archer will be part of the 14-man squad which takes on Ireland in a solitary One-Day International on May 3 in Dublin and a one-off Twenty20 International two days later in Cardiff.
He will also line up to face Pakistan in a five-match ODI series from May 5-19, after which the World Cup squad will be finalised.
“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. He’s someone who has very quickly shown what he can do on a big stage,” selector Ed Smith said in a media interview.
“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.”
Archer played a handful of matches for West Indies Under-19s back in 2013 before turning his attention to England. He holds a UK passport through his father.
He was quickly snapped up by county Sussex where he has had a massive impact across all formats, in his first two full seasons.
Archer has also become a highly sought-after T20 asset and is currently plying his trade for Rajasthan Royals in the lucrative Indian Premier League where he has taken 10 wickets in eight matches.
He produced an outstanding on spell on Tuesday after learning of his selection, grabbing three for 15 from four overs in a losing cause against Kings XI Punjab.
“He’s a very relaxed person, he has a very understated manner. He was very excited about the opportunity,” Smith said.
“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.”
Pacers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, both of whom were named in the World Cup squad, had earlier this week warned about disruption to team unity if Archer was selected.
Woakes said it would not be “fair morally” for Archer to be included and a settled member of the squad to miss out. Another Barbadian, fast bowling all-rounder Chris Jordan, also overlooked for World Cup selection but has been included for the series against Ireland and Pakistan.