Jofra Archer, Will Jacks named in England’s squad for T20 World Cup 2024

Holders England have also named slow left-hander Tom Hartley and big-hitting batter Will Jacks in their 15-man squad.

Jofra Archer
Jofra Archer hasn't played competitive top-level cricket since May 2023 [File: Aijaz Rahi/AP]

England have selected fast bowler Jofra Archer in their provisional squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, setting up a much-awaited international return for one of cricket’s most exciting bowlers whose career has been derailed by injuries.

The 29-year-old has barely featured for England in any format since 2021, mainly because of ongoing issues with his right elbow for which he has undergone two operations. A back injury ruled him out of most of 2022.

The Barbados-born pacer switched his nationality to be eligible for the England team ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which he helped his adopted country win on home soil. Then he played a crucial role in the Ashes series win that year.

England will hope he stays fit to play in a four-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan and then the World Cup, which is being held in the Caribbean and the United States.

Lancashire’s left-arm spinning all-rounder Tom Hartley is the only uncapped player in the squad, while Surrey batsman Will Jacks, also selected, has not featured in an ICC World Cup.

However, there was no place for all-rounder Chris Woakes, who was part of England’s T20 and ODI World Cup-winning teams, while batsman Dawid Malan was also omitted.

As well as Archer, fellow fast bowler Chris Jordan, who played in the final against Pakistan in 2022, is also included.

Jonny Bairstow, who has hit big knocks in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in recent weeks, also found a place in the squad.

Key said players featuring in the IPL – including Jos Buttler and Phil Salt – would be returning to England for the Pakistan series starting on May 22, even if that means missing the latter stages of the IPL. The final is on May 26, with the playoff matches beginning on May 21.

England will be captained by Buttler, with the team seeking a third T20 World Cup title.

‘He’s special’

England’s opening match is against Scotland on June 4 at Kensington Oval in Barbados, which Robert Key – managing director of England men’s cricket – said would take on extra poignancy for Archer.

“He’s special,” Key said.

“You do everything you can to try to get him back playing. We have taken the longer road this time. As always with Jofra, it’s fingers crossed until he’s out there playing. You know when you’re waiting for something really good to happen, you don’t quite believe it until it’s there.”

Archer, who has not played competitive top-level cricket since May 2023, is currently out of the limelight and playing some club matches in the Caribbean to get himself match-sharp. He might get some matches for English county team Sussex before the Pakistan series, when England will put his fitness to the test.

In a recent interview, Archer said he didn’t know “if I’ve got another stop-start year in me”.

“I know it has been a massive toll on him,” Key said. “He hasn’t been around for a while now but every single thing he does creates noise and I think mentally it’s been tough.

“That’s why we made sure we try and get it right, let him go back home, spend some time in Barbados, doing the training there rather than staying in England all the time. It’s always been a balance with Jofra, trying to take into account his mental wellbeing and actually how we get him ready for what we need. Fingers crossed he gets a bit of luck he deserves really.”

England T20 World Cup squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood

Source: News Agencies