Andrew Flintoff, the former all-rounder, said England should call up Jofra Archer to their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 side at any cost.
Archer, the Barbados-born all-rounder, has played for England twice over the last few days, after he fulfilled the tweaked eligibility criteria. On his debut, in the one-day international against Ireland, he returned 1/40 as England won by four wickets.
In his next outing, in the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan, he came more into his own, returning an excellent 2/29, the best figures by a bowler in the match, as England won by seven wickets.
Archer has impressed in T20 leagues the world over with his all-round skills, and Flintoff believes he’s done enough to warrant a place in England’s World Cup side. “He’s got to be in,” Flintoff told the BBC during the launch of the official #CWC19 song in London. “Who would I get rid of? Anyone. He’s brilliant.
“He is unbelievable – I was watching him bowl the other day and I found it so frustrating that a bloke can bowl so fast with what looks like so little effort. He has so much control, all the tricks – slower balls, bouncers, yorkers – and he bats as well.”
Archer wasn’t included in England’s 15 for the World Cup, but he is in the squad for the five ODIs against Pakistan, and the series is considered something of an audition for him to earn his place in the team for the premier event.
There has been plenty of talk regarding Archer’s inclusion in the World Cup squad, with the likes of David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood all voicing concerns about how it wouldn’t be fair on an established player.
But Flintoff likened the situation to the time when Kevin Pietersen was brought into the England squad at the expense of Graham Thorpe, who had over a 100 Test caps, ahead of the 2005 Ashes. England went on to win the series, riding on Pietersen.
Jofra Archer finished with figures of 2/29 on his T20I debut
“That [calling up Pietersen for Thorpe] wasn’t popular with everyone because Thorpey had come back in the side and scored a hundred against South Africa, but Kev showed the way to take them on,” Flintoff said. “Archer has that same ability to surprise people, to lead the way and raise the bar.
“Team spirit is born out of winning, I played in a lot of sides, and the only ones that had team spirit were the successful ones. Parachuting someone in is not the issue.”
Archer will look to boost his claims for a World Cup spot when England take on Pakistan in the first ODI at The Oval on Wednesday, 8 May.