Why England Need Jofra Archer In Their World Cup Squad
April 4, 2019
He is a bolt with the ball, a livewire in the field, and a really clean striker of the cricket ball.
A combination such as this is a really rare one to find these days in the modern cricketing arena. England are blessed to have such a talent in their cricketing reserves who has the proven ability to swing the matches in favour of his team with all or any of his prodigious talents. He is West Indian-born Jofra Archer.
If you look at his lean body frame and short run-up to the crease, you might be tempted to believe, as anyone would be if he/she is seeing Archer for the first time, that there is no way that this guy can crank it up in the high 140s regularly but, truth to be told, he can not only bowl consistently in that terror zone (for batsmen) but can also make use of the long handle to tonk the cricket ball high and handsome into the stands.
No other bowler apart from Mark Wood can really be termed into the category of having threatening pace in the England team right now. Though there are plenty of lower-order hitting options for the team, there is no one who can consistently match Wood’s pace, and even he has been quite inconsistent with his performances in the past, with a hint of a resurgence in the recent ODI series against West Indies.
Now, an important question arises here, can England go into the Cricket World Cup with just one genuine pace option while the other big contenders for the trophy like Australia, India, New Zealand, and South Africa will all have at least two such bowling options in their arsenal? Surely, it doesn’t make sense. Now, one can argue that even if England needs an all-out pace option in addition to Wood in their 15-member contingent for the World Cup but does Archer have the credentials to ply his trade at the international level?
A T20 Demon
The answer to this question demands a look at Archer’s bowling statistics. He has so far bowled in 82 T20 innings from which he has scalped 108 wickets at a bowling average of 22.89 runs per dismissal while his economy hovers just under 8 runs an over – which is considered to be quite decent in the T20 circuit. Now, if we take a look at his performances in the three big leagues that he has played in the past 12 months, we will find that he was the fourth-ranked bowler in the Vitality T20 Blast, the domestic T20 Competition of England, with 22 wickets from 15 games at an average of just 19.91 runs per wicket.
He continued his good work in the eighth season of Australia’s Big Bash League where he represented Hobart Hurricanes and finished with 18 wickets from 15 games at an average of 23.50 while giving away runs at just 7.5 runs an over i.e. even better than his career economy rate. His T20 chronicles were responsible for him bagging a whopping £800,000 bid from Rajasthan Royals at the players’ auction for Indian Premier League (IPL) season 2018. After an impressive showing last year when he returned with 15 wickets from 10 games, he was retained by his franchise ahead of the auctions this year.
Currently, he is playing for Rajasthan Royals in the ongoing IPL season 12 and has taken 3 wickets from 4 games played in the tournament so far. With Rajasthan playing their next couple of games on their home turf, which supports pace and bounce, his wicket’s tally is bound to increase. A particular aspect of his game came to spotlight in Rajasthan’s third game of the season when they were chasing a 176-run target against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings and that aspect was not his fearsome bowling but his calm but brutal batting in the death overs.
With Bat & Ball
Rajasthan were 120 for the loss of 6 wickets and further required 56 runs from 23 deliveries when Archer walked in to bat. He put on a hitting display with two gigantic sixes and a well-timed boundary to forge a 44-run partnership inside 3 overs with Ben Stokes to bring his team in the touching distance of the victory. Though Rajasthan fell short by 8 runs in the end as Stokes lost his wicket on the first ball of the final over, Archer’s unbeaten 11-ball 24 run inning showed his destructive abilities with the bat. It was not just a fluke inning as he had accumulated his runs by playing proper cricketing strokes which is too good a batting trait to be found in a number 8 batsman.
After such vindication of his bowling and batting abilities, his naysayers would argue that these T20 numbers can’t be summed up for a place in the longer formats and especially can’t be considered for an Ashes berth. Archer’s performance in the county circuits counters these claims too. Though he has played just 14 List-A games, taking 21 wickets at 30.71, his performance in the county circuit definitely vindicates his claim for the World Cup as well as an Ashes berth. In the 28 games that he has played in the County Competition for Sussex, he has returned with an impressive tally of 131 wickets at an average of just 23.44, with five 5-wicket hauls.
Clearly, his credentials add up for his claim to a World Cup berth in the English team and also for a crack against the visiting Australians in the Ashes. He should definitely be a part of the English team for the upcoming series against Pakistan, scheduled just before the World Cup. At least English selectors should heed to their former Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, who in a post-game show for Cricbuzz.com, had explicitly said, “Jofra Archer is definitely in my English team for the World Cup and the Ashes.”
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Author: Naimish Gupta
Naimish is a cricket enthusiast who finds ways to keep up with his cricketing passion even in the busiest of schedules as a healthy dose of cricket acts like a relaxing sensation after a hectic dose of work. He has worked with the likes of The Quint, The Citizen, Cricxtasy, Sportskeeda and Follow Your Sports, to provide cricketing nit-bits to the readers from my prism of thought