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‘I’m going to give it my best shot’ –Jofra Archer reacts to maiden England call-up

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

The recently qualified Jofra Archer is ‘overwhelmed’ about receiving his maiden England call-up for the limited-overs games against Pakistan and Ireland, which could well pave the way for a dream World Cup berth.

Archer, who became eligible for England selection last month, was over the moon after receiving his maiden call-up to represent his adopted country after having moved there at the age of 17 from Barbados.

There has been plenty of debate over whether Archer should walk into the England squad for the World Cup, which gets underway at home on May 30. And while Archer isn’t part of the World Cup unit yet, he could well be pencilled in should he do well against Pakistan and Ireland.

The prospect of Archer walking into the England World Cup squad after having qualified for the team only on March 17 has been a contentious topic. Incumbent England seamers like Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and David Willey have not appeared to be the most welcoming of the idea. Somewhat understandingly, Archer said he doesn’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but he knows ‘anything can happen’ if he does his best in the opportunities ahead of him.

“I’m going to give it my best shot,” said Archer. “I’ve worked pretty much all my life for this moment and I just want to tackle it and put my best foot forward. I’m not in the World Cup squad but it’s a great chance for me to show what I can do and anything can happen. If someone gets injured, I want to put myself in a position where I’m the first person they turn to.”

“I understand the situation and I’m very happy with everything. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, the squad selected for the World Cup deserve it and my job is to do my very best against Pakistan. It’s already above and beyond my expectations and I’m just looking forward to meeting the team and playing cricket for England.”

ECB’s qualification criteria at the time Archer moved to England required a player to have stayed in the country for seven years, but qualification rules have since been revised and the fast bowler has managed to clear that hurdle two years before he expected. But more than the fact that he has qualified, he is thrilled that he is considered skilful enough to represent the team.

“It feels really overwhelming,” said Archer on his call-up. “I didn’t expect to ever be good enough to play for England until the last couple of years after I started doing well in T20 tournaments and it’s been a whirlwind period for me. It’s really good to be acknowledged for what I’m doing, but it’s hard to put the feeling into words.

“It’s not all about the World Cup for me right now, it’s about playing against Pakistan which is what I’ve been selected for. It will still be the highlight of my career to play for England in the series against Pakistan.

“Of course, I want to play in the World Cup, but if it doesn’t happen for me I’m not going to get upset. I’m just so excited to play against Pakistan and this is a position I didn’t imagine I would be in at this stage.”

So great was his motivation to play for England, that Archer was mentally prepared to run the full course of seven-year qualification. However, the new rules have come as a blessing for the all-rounder.

“It’s been an exciting three months but I’m surprised by how fast everything has happened,” he says. “I was fully prepared in my mind that it was going to be a seven-year job. When I found out I have qualified more quickly it was obviously a bit of a shock but also exciting. But the goal has never changed, which has always been to become the best cricketer I can and hopefully play for England whenever I was eligible.”

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