Jofra Archer will see his remarkable cricketing rise capped off by a place in England’s World Cup squad, with David Willey set to be the unlucky seamer who misses out when selector Ed Smith names his final 15 on Tuesday.
Archer, 24, is just three matches into his ODI career after qualifying for England in March this year. But such is the excitement surrounding the fast bowler’s attributes, he will now usurp a player who has won 46 caps over the past four years. As well as this switch, Smith is also expected to announce that Hampshire’s in-form Liam Dawson has replaced Joe Denly, the batsman-cum-leg-spinner who played a bit-part role against Pakistan despite heavy backing from Smith.
While Dawson won his last cap back in October, his left-arm spin provides a more authentic alternative from the bench should either Moeen Ali or Adil Rashid suffer a short-term injury.
Denly had been strongly championed by Smith but head coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed before Monday’s selection meeting that Eoin Morgan, as the captain who has overseen England’s remarkable rise to the top of the world rankings, would have the casting vote. Bayliss said: “If it got down to a bit of a stalemate in discussions, the four years that I’ve been here the captain gets a big say. He’s got to be the one comfortable with going out on the field with the other 10 players.”
A third change from the preliminary squad published last month will be confirmation that James Vince comes in for Alex Hales, who was deselected after failing a second recreational drugs test. But while Vince and Dawson will sit in reserve during the tournament, Archer should challenge for a spot in the first team.
Speaking after the 4-0 win series win over Pakistan, Bayliss said: “I hadn’t seen [Archer] play live before but he’s certainly lived up to expectations. He’s got good control, good pace and he can bowl in all the three phases of the match.”
The Sussex right-armer’s inclusion in the final squad was always a formality once England saw him make the step up from Twenty20 leagues to the international stage with minimal fuss. The question then became who should make way. With Mark Wood returning from a two-month break last Friday and bowling at speeds of 90mph-plus – and Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes England’s leading seam-bowlers over the past four years – it ultimately came down to a straight choice between Willey and Tom Curran.
Though just 17 caps into his one-day career, Surrey’s older Curran brother has impressed over the past few weeks, claiming nine wickets in four games against Ireland and Pakistan as well as helping to seal secure successful run-chases in Malahide and Nottingham with some steely lower order batting. Willey and Denly should not lose heart by their expected omissions. Teams can still call up injury replacements during the tournament subject to sign-off from the International Cricket Council’s events committee, although such changes are then permanent and cannot be reversed down the line.
Bayliss, who will step down from his role after the Ashes series that follows the World Cup, was in charge of the Sri Lanka side that finished runners up to India back in 2011. On England’s prospects this year, he added: “It’s been a hectic last six months but the guys have come through and I fully expect them to play well. For any team, knockout cricket is when the most pressure is. Our first job is to get through and qualify for the semi-finals. Get to a semi and anything is possible.”
Moeen Ali Worcestershire, Jofra Archer Sussex, Jonny Bairstow Yorkshire, Jos Buttler Lancashire, Tom Curran Surrey, Liam Dawson Hampshire, Eoin Morgan (capt) Middlesex, Liam Plunkett Surrey, Adil Rashid Yorkshire, Joe Root Yorkshire, Jason Roy Surrey, Ben Stokes Durham, James Vince Hampshire, Chris Woakes Warwickshire, Mark Wood Durham