Thanks to new residency rules which came into force here in the UK on the 1st of January 2019, Barbados born Jofra Archer will be eligible to play for the England international cricket team from March. Although the all-rounder (who plays his county cricket for Sussex) was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, his father is English, and the 23-year-old cricketer holds a British passport.
Before the rule changes, players had to have resided here in England for seven years from their 18th birthdays, before they could be considered for international duty. The new rules have now reduced this period down to only three years.
Jofra’s first, first-class cricket match in England was for Sussex against Pakistan at Hove in July 2016. Prior to that, he played for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. He also represented the Windies at U17 and 19 levels.
Archer’s availability for England selection couldn’t have come at a better time, with England due to host the 2019 ICC World Cup in May this year. It would, of course, be unusual for a newcomer to be fast-tracked before he has had any international appearances under his belt, but the consensus of opinion among cricket pundits is that the young man would considerably strengthen the squad.
According to the Eoin Morgan, England team captain, a final judgment will be made toward the end of March, with the squad for the World Cup due to be named on the 23rd of April. He is not alone in his opinion that Archer, who is capable of delivering a cricket ball at over 90 mph, is a superbly talented young cricketer.
If Archer does get selected to play for his country, there will only be time for him to play two matches before the start of the World Cup. The first is the one day international when England are due to play Ireland at the Malahide Stadium in Dublin on the 3rd of May. The second would be the five-match series, the first of which is on Wednesday the 8th of May at the Kennington Oval.
Whereas as the English cricket team is only ranked fifth in Test Cricket, and fourth in T20I, they are ranked number one in the One Day International (ODI) form of the game according to the International Cricket Council. The upcoming World Cup is in the ODI format of course, and although England exited at the group stages in 2015, they are ranked favourites for winning the 2019 trophy.
The addition of Jofra Archer to the squad would give even more credence to that ranking, and with the odds currently at five to two, they could be well worth putting a bet on.
Archer owes his recognition and rise in fame in England to Sussex teammate Chris Jordan – a fellow Barbadian born in Christ Church Parish. He first came across Archer as a teenager when he was bowling in the practice nets in Barbados back in 2012. On his very first delivery, he threw down a quick bouncer and Jordan instantly recognised the young man’s potential.
Jordan tipped Sussex off to the fact that Archer held a British passport (he has never held a Barbadian one) and the rest is history.