England’s World Cup chances: The Jofra Archer equation

England’s World Cup chances: The Jofra Archer equation

The 24-year old is certainly an X-Factor as far as England is concerned.

Jofra Archer, England
Jofra Archer. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It was a sunny day at The Hove in Brighton. As it always is. The summertime by the seaside is perhaps the most pleasant in all of England. Sussex viewed the task at hand with a certain keenness. They had, by no means, fielded their best XI. In fact, it was far from a mirror image of the team they field in the County Championships.

An imperious figure emerged from the backdrop. He was lanky. The exuberance of youth was almost unnoticed. The towering Jofra Archer had just been given his first cap for Sussex. Mickey Arthur and the rest of the Pakistan side observed from afar. Little did they know the extent of unleashing that had happened.

Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood soon realized what they were up against. It was beyond their wildest imagination. Such was the impact that word began to spread. And finally reached the ears of Peter Moores. The latter had a bowling attack that boasted of Broad and Anderson. Yet, there was a certain yearning for more. And the 21-year old Archer was immediately on the ECB selection radar.

Leaving Pakistan bamboozled

It wasn’t long before Shan Masood found himself back in the embers of the dressing sheds. A wonderfully shaped delivery managed to kiss the outside edge of his bat. And it was Archer who had the last laugh. Or rather, his first laugh!

Mickey Arthur watched in bewilderness as Archer made life difficult for the batsmen. Hafeez would depart soon after as the young Barbadian announced himself on the county stage. Soon, the entire country tuned in. And it wasn’t long before the stuffed shirts in T20 leagues around the world began to take notice.

He would finish with five wickets, four in the first and one in the second at Hove. However, this would be enough to earn him contracts with Hobart Hurricanes and the Rajasthan Royals.

His tall, and slender frame brings about imaginations of a young Michael Holding from the 70s. His action, whilst not as fluid as it once was when he was a sophomore for the Windies U-19, still has the ability to bring about the downfall of batsmen. And he can bat. Oh boy, can he wield his bat when required! The comparison with Michael Holding is thus justified.

The ECB doors

Chris Jordan grew up in Barbados. His ability to bowl quick comes, not from years of experience, but his roots. If you are Jamaican with an affinity for the ball, bowling under 90 miles per hour is unheard of. Jordan and Archer, as many West Indians have done took the call of immigration early on in their careers. As has been the case with the likes of Gordon Greenidge and several others.

Jordan, while possessing the swagger of a Barbadian saw in Archer, someone who had the embers of a Jamaican – who could play with both bat and ball. However, it had taken Jordan a whopping seven years in the labyrinth of county cricket to find himself donning the three lions across his chest.

And it seemed, from the outset, that the same would indeed apply to Archer. Seven years for Archer, however, seemed to be a long time. There were talks of the youngster making a return to the West Indies. Perhaps the nation, which has, so far fallen from grace, could benefit a bowler who was looking to make a mark in the international cricketing scene.

Ashley Giles, once a spinner, and now England’s head coach began doing his research. So did Giles Clark and Andrew Strauss — the unassuming Director of Cricket for the ECB. In seven years, the Barbadian may well be past his peak they thought. The need for rewriting the law, as far as the ECB was concerned, was of utmost importance.

For those living in the United Kingdom and their adjoining isles, the qualification to play cricket in an England shirt had now become a lot easier. Little did they know it was courtesy of a young Barbadian who could bowl at a decent pace. Ultimately, all it required was the conviction of one man. An Irishman. One who had led England from the runt of the litter in ODI cricket to the top of the world. And within a span of a few short years.

Eoin Morgan’s England

The England skipper had watched as his side was decimated in the 2015 World Cup. In Australia of all places as well. There was a need for change. And the players’ heads were well and truly on the line.

Fast forwarding a few years. England now enters the World Cup with two things heavily in their favour. They are the best ODI team in the world. And second, they are playing on their home turf. The perfect opportunity to lift the trophy. One that has eluded them, and often embarrassed them in the past.

Former skipper Michael Vaughan would also go on to joke that he would dance shirtless should Archer not be included. Virat Kohli, India’s famed skipper for the World Cup too went on to send in his endorsements for Archer. The 30-year old, leading India for the second time in an ICC Trophy in England went on to state that Archer would be England’s X-Factor for the tournament as well.

What makes him so special?

A towering Barbadian, similar to his compatriot Chris Jordan, he has become nothing short of a sensation. As mentioned previously, one may even recall a young Michael Holding charging in as they witness the slender frame of Archer charging in.

As far as the World Cup chances for Eoin Morgan’s men are concerned, Archer’s involvement is quite clear. However, Morgan has paid the price in terms of experience with David Willey and Joe Denly making way for Archer and Liam Dawson. A gamble, one may say. Whether it pays off remains to be seen.

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