“Get ‘Im In!” Should England Pick Jofra Archer Straight Away?

Well, well, well. This is very interesting indeed. The ECB has just changed its eligibility criteria for England players. Non British-born players will now only have to serve a 3 year residency period (down from 7 years), which means < long drumroll > that one of the world’s best young cricketers, a certain Jofra Chioke Archer Esq, is now fully qualified to play for England.

Although some will think this is a rather cynical move by the ECB (conceived cunningly with Archer front of mind) they do have a very good excuse. The ICC itself now only insists on a 3 year residency rule (previously 4 years); therefore they can argue with a knowing smile that English cricket is only changing its rules to conform with international standards. The fact that 2019 is a World Cup and home Ashes year, and England will suddenly have one of the most exciting all-round talents in the world available to them, is surely a complete coincidence. Wink wink.

There’s no doubt that Archer would be the most exciting overseas talent to qualify for England since Kevin Pietersen, and before that Graeme Hick. England’s attack lacks genuine pace, and with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad also coming to the end of their careers, Jofra’s availability suddenly ticks a lot of boxes. What’s more, we all know that Ed Smith’s philosophy is to pick the best all-round talents available. And Archer bowls, bats, and fields with aplomb. I bet Big Ed is salivating.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that Archer will play for England in the next 12 months. The question, surely, is when? And that. my friends, is the issue I’d like to discuss today. Would you pick young Jofra immediately – he’s actually eligible to play for England on their tour of the West Indies in a few weeks’ time – or wait until the World Cup or even The Ashes?

Part of me suspects Archer might be catapulted into the England team at the first opportunity. I’d certainly have him in both the red ball and white ball squads. The problem is who the selectors would drop to accommodate him? There are no obvious candidates when it comes to the test squad I’m afraid. Olly Stone and Chris Woakes might be the most vulnerable, although long term Jack Leach or Adil Rashid might miss out when England tour countries likely to help fast bowlers rather than spinners. I would say that Sam Curran would be the obvious choice to drop out but I suspect he’ll continue to get picked primarily as a batter.

Accommodating Archer in the white ball squads looks a much easier task. He’s clearly an upgrade over every single pyjama wearing England bowler. I’d definitely take him over the likes of David Willey, Tom Curran, and Chris Jordan, and probably over Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett too. I don’t think there’s much doubt that Archer’s presence would be a massive boost for Eoin Morgan in both ODIs and T20s. Perhaps, therefore, England leave the test squad unchanged for now but then pick Archer for the white ball leg of the Windies tour?

I’d love to know what you all make of Archer. Is he the next big thing or is there a chance he’ll struggle at international level? Personally I think he’ll do fine as long as expectations are realistic. Although he’s an amazing athlete he still has some developing to do. Pace isn’t always enough at the top level so he’ll need to hone those skills. We also saw him struggle on T20 finals day – a rare occurrence I must admit.

Archer’s presence will definitely give England a new dimension in both the World Cup and The Ashes. If the old adage that teams should always do what the opposition wants least holds water, then the ECB have just pulled a blinder. I bet the Aussies crying into their beer as we speak.

James Morgan

2018-11-29T15:37:18+00:00November 29th, 2018|Talking Points|10 Comments


  1. Nick November 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Sussex are suggesting that he won’t be able to play until March because he hasn’t been in the UK enough this year, I wonder if he could be available for the WIs if he didn’t go to the BBL which is really a daft choice for the ECB to have to ask a player to make.

    I’d be keen to see him picked for the WIs and if not the ODIs Vs Pakistan just to see how he goes as he has all the raw ingredients. It would be really harsh on one of the bowlers who have done well on some very flat pitches during this WC cycle and have a lot of international overs under their belts.

    • James Morgan November 30, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Yep. Sussex have issued a press release or something mentioning this. Apparently it depends on how many days he spends in the UK in the next few weeks. Nobody knows the exact date he’s available yet. Looks like the earlier reports (which I read) on Cricinfo were slightly inaccurate.

  2. Cricketcricketcricket November 29, 2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    You couldn’t make it up.. laughing stock really but people are so blinkered they’ll accept it and nothing will be said

  3. Simon H November 29, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    The question ought to be – is English cricket content to poach talent from other countries it has impoverished? Especially when that talent rose up through that country’s school system and has played for their U19s?

    (And before anyone says, yes WICB are massively at fault too – and no, I’m not blaming Archer for seeking to get much better fixtures and more renumeration for the fairly short career of a professional sportsman).

    • James Morgan November 30, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

      It doesn’t sit entirely well with me to be honest but I remember reading that the WI messed him around a bit at U19 level. Nobody seemed to raise this issue when we poach South Africans, as their game seems in good health compared to the WI. Of course, the ECB would argue that they’re not responsible for impoverishing WI cricket so they probably have no problem with what’s happened. They just desperately, desperately, want to win a white ball trophy.

  4. Inland Sailor November 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    If he’s good enough, get him in.

  5. Comte November 30, 2018 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Archer is one of the most talented young cricketers I’ve seen in recent times. He has the X factor, whatever that is, and I would like to see him in the squads a.s.a.p. rather than gathering dust in the CC. Of course he may turn out to be a disappointment at international level but I would rather that we found out one way or another than speculate.
    As for Windies cricket, they need to sort themselves out.

  6. Trevor Neale December 1, 2018 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Dear ECB, don’t let him anywhere near ‘The Mood Hoover’, Loughborough, or The Lions – many thanks, all cricket lovers….

  7. Anon December 2, 2018 at 1:04 am - Reply

    Archer seems to be one of the most sought after players in short form cricket and considering the ECB have got a few selection decisions right in recent times fast-tracking him into England’s white-ball squads for the world cup is not a bad idea. His FC and domestic one day stats are very impressive, however international cricket is a massive step up. It would make sense to play him in the Windies; he grew up there and should therefore be used to the pitches, thereby easing his entry into international cricket. Seeing him I am reminded of another English allrounder of yesteryear who promised a lot but sadly didn’t do justice to his talent: Chris Lewis anyone?

  8. Mark December 3, 2018 at 3:53 am - Reply

    I think it was a shame that we were going to have to wait for so long to see someone so talented play international cricket. His dad is english and he plays in england. If he feels english it sits just fine with me. We live in a very different world these days where nationality and origin lines are much more blurred than yesteryear.

    A couple of weeks ago i left a comment stating that english cricket had a lot of young talent coming through. How is this for a team and squad in a few years once some of the old gaurd have moved on


    J clarke

    With the likes of woakes and ali still to be around for a few years yet i see us in very good health needing only to find one more opener. Hopefully haseeb will re emerge next year…

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