When the first Test between the West Indies and England gets underway on January 23 at Bridgetown, England’s long-term opening bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad will be on a combined total of 998 Test wickets.
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As an English cricket supporter it’s hard to keep an eye off Jofra Archer. His bowling of over 150 kilometres per hour, pinpoint yorkers and extremely handy batting at the end gives English cricket the prospect of a Test cricket superstar in the making.
In an era when players are content playing in cash-rich tournaments, Jofra Archer harbours ambition of playing Test cricket for England.
Having represented the West Indies under-19s back in 2013 but disappointed and frustrated with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) back home, Archer moved to Surrey with the ambition to play for Test cricket. He made his debut for Surrey in 2016, but it was in 2017 that Jofra caught the attention of everyone with 61 wickets in the county championship at 25 and during his stint for the Hobart Hurricanes later that year, where he mesmerised everyone with his 150-kilometre-per-hour bowling.
It’s not just the speed gun; his immaculate line and length mean he made batsmen’s life miserable – and that’s before considering his yorkers at the death and scintillating catches out of nowhere.
The successful IPL stint for Rajasthan Royals two months ago helped his reputation. He impressed Michael Vaughan so much that the former captain called for the ECB to help him with residency and other legal things which could help him play for England. But as per the new rule of ECB, Archer would have to wait until 2022 to be eligible to play for England at international level.
But, according to reports, the ECB is considering changing the rules to fast-track Archer to play for England in the 2019 World Cup and Ashes following it.
So the question is: now that Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss have formed the core group of players who could play in 2019 World Cup, should Jofra Archer be in the side?
Eoin Morgan doesn’t look keen to include him in the side, with the core group already in the place, and he’s right to hold that opinion. You don’t want to be tinkering with the players with a mega event around the corner.
But on the other hand, with next year’s World Cup being England best chance to lift the all-important trophy, shouldn’t the national side strengthen its squad with the x-factor that Jofra brings?
The only guy who should make that decision is the one-day skipper Eoin Morgan. He would be visualising how the squad should be, what is needed in the team and the conditions they could be facing next year. Does Jofra fit in the squad?
With the decision being made as late as it is being made, it is best left to Morgan’s instinct to pick him in the squad or not for next year. Perhaps playing against him or with him or just watching him could change his mind – seeing how he reacts in a match situation, how he is able to turn around the match and if he has got that x-factor.