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Jofra Archer set to be named in England squad for T20 World Cup defence
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Jofra Archer set to be named in England squad for T20 World Cup defence

Jofra Archer is set to make his long-awaited England return as part of the 15-man T20 World Cup squad that is named on Tuesday, with Chris Jordan also in line for a recall to the white-ball set-up.

Archer has not played for England since a limited-overs tour of Bangladesh in March last year after his longstanding right elbow issue – stress fractures in the joint – resurfaced and prompted another lengthy absence for the fast bowler.

But after rebuilding his fitness, featuring in pre-season for Sussex and club cricket in Barbados, the 29-year-old is expected to be included when Rob Key names squads for the four-match T20 series against Pakistan in late May and the T20 World Cup defence in the Caribbean that follows.

It may be that Archer is joined by his close friend, Jordan, who has entered the conversation after a winter playing franchise T20 in Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. A T20 World Cup winner in 2022, the 35-year-old was overlooked for England’s last white-ball series in the Caribbean and did not feature in the most recent batch of men’s central contracts.

But with England having initially earmarked Jamie Overton as a big-hitting fast bowler down the order – only to see him suffer a back injury in recent weeks – Jordan’s similar success at clearing the ropes late on in the innings, added to his experience bowling at the death and elite fielding, could well see him get the nod.

Chris Woakes, a World Cup winner in both white-ball formats and on a two-year central contract, may be the seamer squeezed out as a result, with the pace of Mark Wood and Reece Topley’s left-arm angle set to feature alongside Archer.

If so, the 35-year-old’s focus will switch to the red Dukes ball and Test series against West Indies and Sri Lanka from July, having been England’s player of the series in last summer’s Ashes series. Currently at the Indian Premier League, Woakes is yet to feature for his franchise, Punjab Kings.

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The remaining pinch point in England’s squad appears to be among the spinners, with Tom Hartley, uncapped in T20 cricket, a chance to nudge Rehan Ahmed and offer a slow left-arm orthodox option. This tour party is only preliminary, however, with changes allowed up until the final deadline on 25 May.

Source: theguardian.com