JOFRA ARCHER has taken a huge stride towards playing in the World Cup with Trevor Bayliss revealing he will be chosen for the warm-up games.
Head coach Bayliss believes Archer’s speed and skill as a bowler can help England’s bid to win the World Cup for the first time.
Just 24 hours after their humiliation in the final one-dayer against West Indies, Bayliss confirmed what has been an open secret around the England camp for several weeks.
Until now, however, the England hierarchy have insisted they would not comment publicly on Archer until he qualifies later this month.
The Sussex speedster, 23, was born in Barbados but has an English father and British passport and has become a T20 star around the globe.
Bayliss and captain Eoin Morgan will be wary of disturbing the spirit of a settled team but, in the end, they must choose the best squad possible.
Kent all-rounder Joe Denly or Yorkshire left-armer David Willey are the men most under threat if Archer is chosen.
Archer is now almost certain to play in Ireland on May 3 and the five 50-over matches against Pakistan between May 8-19.
Bayliss said: “Jofra Archer’s name keeps cropping up and I think we’ll give him an opportunity to show what he can do in those games against Ireland and Pakistan.
“I’ve not spoken to him but he’s said publicly that he’s keen to play for England.
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“He’s a bowler who looks like he can bowl in all three phases of the game. He can take the new ball, bowl through the middle and come back at the end. That’s a good skill set to have.
“We must decide, firstly, if he is good enough to be in the team and, secondly, if that upsets the apple cart and affects the way we play.”
Archer won’t be in the provisional 15-man squad that must be named by April 23 – but those names are mainly for marketing purposes.
That squad can be altered any time before May 22 but subsequent changes must be approved by the ICC and would normally be allowed only in case of injury.
England have little chance of winning the World Cup if they produce many more performances like the one here on Saturday.
The Windies knocked off their target of 114 in just 12.1 overs, with Bayliss saying the embarrassed players conducted a post-mortem after the game.
He said: “The gulf between our two wins and two losses in the series has been huge. We talk all the time about playing smart cricket but we didn’t play smart cricket.
“The wicket was more bouncy than we’re used to but that is no excuse. We’ve played on different wickets before and managed to get winning scores.
“I didn’t have to say very much after the game. Morgs started things and three of four of the most experienced players led the conversation.
“I think that was our worst one-day defeat since I’ve been involved.
“For Gayle to come out, throw the bat, whack a few and for us to lose in such a fashion… I think the players were embarrassed.
“Maybe in a macabre sort of way it might be exactly what we need. Like a wake-up call.
“Just because we’re one of the favourites, it doesn’t mean we can turn up and go through the motions and expect to win. We have to be right on our game to have a chance.”
Possible England World Cup squad: Roy, Bairstow, Hales, Root, Morgan (capt), Stokes, Buttler (wkt), Moeen, Denly, Rashid, Woakes, Wood, Plunkett, Archer, T. Curran.