It will be special to play for England: Archer

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Dubai: While the overzealous fans were chasing Shahid Afridi – one of the biggest names in the T10 League – at the team hotel on Saturday for selfies, Jofra Archer walked quietly into the conference room for this interview with Khaleej Times.

Looking at this Barbados-born English fast bowler, it was hard to believe that this was the same man the British media have become obsessed with ever since the England and Wales Cricket Board changed rules, making Archer eligible for England selection next year.

Under the previous rules, the 23-year-old Archer needed to wait until the 2022-2023 season for England selection

Now thanks to new rules, Archer, who was born to an English father, could play in the two biggest events in the next English summer – the 2019 World Cup and the Ashes.

The reason behind the soaring expectations in British media is Archer’s talent to bowl fast and take wickets regularly in country cricket. He is also a dangerous batsman in the lower-order which has made him a big asset for teams in the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash in Australia.

Despite the hype in British media, Archer refused to look too far ahead.

“Change of rules doesn’t mean I would be selected. Yes I would be eligible for selection. Obviously England is doing very well at the moment. I would not say they don’t need me but there is no guarantee that I will play next year for England,” Archer told Khaleej Times.

Archer, who played for the West Indies under 19 before deciding to try his luck in England due to lack of opportunities in the Caribbean, hoped to play a key role for England if the selectors pick him.

“Now England are the number one team in the world. If I am selected, I just hope that I complement the team well. But right now I am not really focusing on that,” the Sussex player said.

“There are still a few months to go. I have got the Big Bash coming up, I have got the IPL coming up. It makes no sense to think about England now. I just want to concentrate on the tournaments ahead.”

But Archer admitted that it would be special to wear to England cap.

“It would be a dream obviously. With the World Cup in England, it would be great if get picked. But I hope nobody gets injured because I probably will get selected if only someone gets injured. Also, for me it doesn’t really matter when I make my debut. Whenever I do, it will be special to me,” he smiled.

Archer, who grew up idolizing Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, enjoyed his experience with Sindhis team in the T10 League.

“I know we didn’t do too well, but we competed in every game. So I don’t mind losing as long as we put up a good fight,” he said.

For a bowler who has played against Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson, Archer found Jos Buttler the toughest to bowl at.

“Personally, I find him very hard to bowl at. He hits a lot of balls that other batsmen don’t hit for boundaries,” he said.

So has players like Buttler made England a big favourite for next year’s World Cup?

“They have got 15 match-winners in the squad. Anyone can win the game single-handedly on their day. That’s why they are such a dangerous team,” he said.

And that’s why Archer believes it will be tough to walk into that England team at the World Cup.

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