London: All-rounder Jofra Archer made his highly-anticipated entry into England's World Cup squad, as the national selectors named the final 15-man contingent for the marquee tournament on Tuesday.
Archer had been excluded from the preliminary 15-man squad that had been named last month to meet the ICC's first deadline requirement. However, he was included for both the Ireland series as well as the one against Pakistan, and his eventual selection was more or less a certainty once he had made his England debut.
Archer's inclusion came alongside those of fellow all-rounder Liam Dawson and top-order batsman James Vince. The trio replaced David Willey, Joe Denly and Alex Hales.
Despite having played just four internationals since becoming eligible to play for England in March, Archer is highly regarded for his temperament and talent, so much that England picked his raw talent over the more experienced Willey. The left-arm seamer has been a consistent performer for England in the past. But after what was at best a mixed series against Pakistan, his performances simply weren't enough to make him stand out from the intense current competition.
Archer, on the other hand, gave a wonderful audition of his white-ball credentials, when he impressed with his four-over spell in the rain-marred first ODI against Pakistan at The Oval. Archer's short, but so far promising, England limited-overs career prompted outgoing coach Trevor Bayliss, who will step down after the Ashes, to say: "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."
"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," he said.
Dawson, meanwhile, has put behind an injury setback to reclaim his place. The all-rounder hasn't turned out for England since October last year, when a side strain during the tour of Sri Lanka put him out of commission. His exit paved the way for Denly, who had a chance to stake his claim during both the Ireland and Pakistan series. But he went wicketless after bowling just six overs across three games against Pakistan and totalled 17 runs.
The lackluster performances ran parallel to Dawson hitting back with 18 wickets and 271 runs in nine One-Day Cup matches for Hampshire, putting him back in favour with the selectors.
Vince ended up being the beneficiary of both solid performances against Pakistan as well as the untimely indiscretion of Alex Hales, who was pulled from the squad after failing two drug tests. Vince also slammed a stunning 154-ball 190 for Hampshire in late April, putting him firmly on the selectors' map.
Squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk),
Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben
Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.(UNI)