Jofra Archer, the dynamic fast bowler for England, has been a significant talking point leading up to the ICC World Cup 2023. His recent return to England’s practice sessions and his impressive performance in the nets have reignited discussions about his potential inclusion in the World Cup squad.
Archer’s journey over the past few years has been riddled with injuries. A recurring stress fracture in his right elbow has been a persistent issue, keeping him out of action since the Indian Premier League earlier this year. This same injury ruled him out for the entirety of the 2023 English summer. The severity of his injuries can be traced back to the 2019/20 winter, when he first damaged his right elbow. Since then, he hasn’t played a single home international for England.
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Jofra Archer and the World Cup hope
Given his history, Archer’s absence from England’s preliminary 2023 World Cup squad was expected. However, there’s still a glimmer of hope. The possibility of him traveling to India as a reserve player remains. England selector, Luke Wright, expressed cautious optimism about Archer’s potential return. While Wright acknowledged the challenges of including Archer in the initial squad, he didn’t rule out the possibility of Archer playing towards the end of the tournament, provided certain conditions are met.
The recent training session, on the eve of England’s third ODI against New Zealand, showcased Archer’s form. Bowling at nearly 100% capacity and displaying good pace, Archer seemed to be in top shape. His performance, observed by director of cricket Rob Key and new assistant coach Andrew Flintoff, would undoubtedly have boosted the team’s morale.
However, for Archer to make it to the World Cup, several factors need to be considered.
England’s current 15-man provisional squad
Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, and Chris Woakes.
While Archer’s primary role as a fast bowler doesn’t directly compete with many of these names, his inclusion wouldn’t necessarily require an injury to a current squad member. The likes of Gus Atkinson and David Willey could still miss out and Archer could make it if he can prove his match fitness. England could opt for a change later in the tournament too if there’s an injury to any player and bring Archer in for the latter stages.
The question of Jofra Archer’s inclusion in England’s World Cup 2023 squad is far from settled. His recent form in practice sessions and the cautious optimism from team management suggest that he could still find a place in the squad. If Archer continues on his current trajectory of recovery and form, he could very well be a late but impactful addition to England’s World Cup campaign. The final decision will likely hinge on multiple factors, including team balance, form, and fitness. Only time will tell what role Archer will play in the upcoming World Cup.
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