Will England use Jofra Archer as surprise weapon in Windies T20I series?

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– owing to new rules and regulations, he is eligible for March 2019

By Brandon Corlette

The Barbados-born 23-year-old fast bowler, Jofra Archer now enjoys the luxury of being eligible to play for England in March 2019. If the selectors immediately gave Archer the nod, he may make his international debut for England against a familiar West Indies team.

According to the revised rules and regulations from the England Cricket Board (ECB), for a player to be eligible for England selection, he must have British citizenship; either have been born in England/Wales or have three years’ residence (a total of 210 days/year April-March). Additionally, the player must not have played as a local player in professional international or domestic cricket in a full member country within the past three years.

The rules outlined were made on January 1, 2019; the ECB changes stand closer to the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations. Therefore, England’s luxury player and Barbadian native will play international cricket soon enough.

Originally, Archer would have attained qualification to play for England until 2022-2023, but the ECB recognised his importance, so it facilitated him ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Since Archer is eligible to play for England at some point in 2019, will England announce him in the T20I squad to play Windies from March 5, 2019?

Jofra Chioke Archer, who was born in Barbados, has an English father and Bajan mother. Archer is likely to follow or even go beyond his Sussex teammate, Chris Jordan who played for England and was born in Barbados. Jordan aided in his countryman’s development when Jordan alerted Sussex about Archer’s gifts as a cricketer after they were engaged in a net session.

In the year 2013, Archer played for West Indies U-19, but suffered a back injury. In that batch of U-19 players were Shimron Hetmyer, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Ramaal Lewis, Alzarri Joseph, Fabian Allen and Gudakesh Motie.

He then went to England and was secured with a contract from Sussex; when he made his First-Class debut in 2016 against Pakistan, he took four wickets at the inception. On his limited overs debut, he struck 72 batting at number eight against Essex, announcing himself as a complete player.

Archer has been recognised globally, having played in numerous T20 leagues. He played for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Quetta Gladiators and Hobart Hurricanes in Australia’s Big Bash League. At 23 years old, time is not of the essence in Archer’s case and without a doubt, he will play all three formats for England. Archer has played 28 First-Class matches scoring 1003 runs with the bat at an average of 31.34. He has six half-centuries with a high score of 81 and he is no bluff with ball in hand.

The fast-bowler, who can exceed speeds of 90mph, has 131 wickets in 28 matches at a bowling average of 23.44. With a best bowling figure of 7-67, he has 10 four-wicket hauls, 5 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket match haul in a blooming career. England will announce their T20I squad to play West Indies soon, and it will be no surprise if Archer gets the nod to play. How did West Indies let a talent as Archer slip away? England are not replicating West Indies’ mistakes; they are securing the luxurious player for the biggest event in world cricket, the ICC 50-over Cricket World Cup that will be played in England from May 2019.

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