David Willey questions prospect of Jofra Archer’s fast-tracking into England World Cup plans

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David Willey has appeared to question whether picking Jofra Archer could destabilise England’s World Cup squad.
Archer, the Barbados-born fast bowler, is expected to qualify to be eligible to represent England in a few days. But while Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, has already provided a strong hint that he would be given an opportunity in the ODIs against Ireland and Pakistan that precede the final deadline for the World Cup squad, Willey has hinted that bringing in a new player on the eve of a tournament for which England have been preparing for four years might prove unhelpful.
“It’s an interesting dilemma for the captain, coaches and selectors,” Willey said. “It’s a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to No.1.
“And there’s a reason for that. Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they’re available, whether that’s the right thing, I don’t know.”
Willey would appear to be one of those that are particularly vulnerable should Archer win selection. Having not featured in any of the five ODIs played on England’s Caribbean tour, he is probably on the periphery of that 15-man World Cup squad.
But he does have an almost unique selling point in the England squad. Not only does he offer some left-arm variation, but he appears to swing the ball – the new ball, anyway – more than any of his team-mates. As a result, he often poses a threat at the start of the innings and, with the World Cup played in familiar conditions and games scheduled to start at 10.30 am, he may gain more than a little help from the conditions.
He enjoyed a good 2018, too. He not only produced career-best ODI figures with the bat – he made a fifty against India at Lord’s – but he claimed 4 for 43 against Australia at Chester-le-Street – and conceded just 4.70 runs an over against a strong India line-up in that series.
And, as he hinted, his limited-overs record doesn’t compare too badly to Archer’s. Archer has a List A bowling average of 30.71 and concedes, on average, 5.29 runs per over; Willey averages 31.64 and has an economy rate of 5.65. He has played 42 ODIs, however, and 121 List A matches while Archer has played 14 List A games. Willey’s T20 record – a bowling average of 23.42 and economy rate of 7.90 – is also very similar to Archer’s: 22.38 and 8.01.

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