(Reuters) – Chris Woakes believes it would be unfair for England selectors to ask any player to make way for the uncapped all-rounder Jofra Archer in the World Cup squad.
Barbados-born Archer, who shone for Sussex last season and in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 league for Hobart Hurricanes, is eligible for national selection under new England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) residency rules.
Archer’s ability to bowl at over 90 miles per hour and his lower-order power-hitting skills have earned him a number of high-profile admirers including England regulars Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Some are concerned about who would be left out if he were to join the England squad, however.
“If he was to come in and someone was to miss out, it would be extremely unfortunate,” all-rounder Woakes told BBC Sport.
“We’ve been a tight-knit group for the last two to three years, played some really strong cricket, won a lot of series.
“Apart from a personal level, I wouldn’t want to see any of my mates and team-mates miss out. But it’s the nature of international cricket that there is always someone knocking on the door.”
England will name a provisional 15-man squad for the World Cup on Wednesday, alongside an expanded group of 17 for limited-overs series against Ireland and Pakistan next month.
Even if Archer is not included in the initial squad, England can make changes to it until May 23, seven days before their tournament opener against South Africa at The Oval.
Asked if there would be added pressure on Archer if called up, Woakes said: “He might thrive off it or it might have the opposite effect.
“But from what everyone is hearing he might be part of the Ireland and Pakistan matches so there will be pressure on everyone to perform.
“Everyone will be looking over their shoulder and that’s a good place to be as a team because it constantly makes you want to improve and make sure you are a part of that 15.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)