Jofra Archer was rewarded for impressing in his early auditions on the international stage by getting a late call-up to England's squad for the Cricket World Cup, as David Willey's worst fears were realised on Tuesday, 21 May.
Archer, an exciting pace bowler capable of deliveries regularly above 90 mph (144 kph), took advantage of a recent change in English cricket's eligibility rules that allows players to be picked after three years of residency instead of seven.
Archer, a 24-year-old from Barbados, wasn't included in an enlarged provisional squad named by England last month but made enough of an impact in the three warm-up games he played in recent weeks – one against Ireland and two in the five-match series against Pakistan.
"I'm ready," said Archer, who has made his name in Twenty20 cricket, notably with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. "I've played a lot of cricket. I know how to deal with pressure, crowds."
National selector Ed Smith said it was a "pretty straightforward" decision to select Archer, adding: "He's an outstanding talent, that's clear to all of us. He has pace, bounce, skill."
Willey, who has been dropped from the provisional squad to make way for Archer, previously voiced his concerns about Archer being parachuted in despite limited involvement in the four-year cycle between World Cups.
"It's a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to No.1," Willey, who has been a key member of England's bowling attack, said in March.
"And there's a reason for that. Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they're available, whether that's the right thing, I don't know."
Willey reacted to being dropped by tweeting: "What can I say, I'm absolutely gutted. Still 100% behind the lads."
What can I say, I’m absolutely gutted. Still 100% behind the lads. On a positive.....still winning at life!! pic.twitter.com/h8AAoregxV— David Willey (@david_willey) May 21, 2019
Archer downplayed any fears his call-up would cause any friction in the squad, saying he had been welcomed "with open arms" by teammates for the three matches he played.
Joe Denly also had his World Cup dreams dashed when the final squad was announced, losing his place to slow left-armer Liam Dawson.
Smith said that decision was made largely to cover for premier spinner Adil Rashid having a "little niggle" in his shoulder.
"Hopefully he'll be fine and he plays a full part in the competition, but that slightly tilts things towards spin bowling cover as a priority," Smith said.
Dawson played the last of his three one-day internationals in October and was not involved in the just-finished 4-0 series win over Pakistan.
Denly was lined up as a utility option, a flexible batsman and a late-blooming legspinner, but England used him sparingly as a bowler against Pakistan. Coach Trevor Bayliss admitted Dawson's left-arm spin is more reliable and a strong show in leading Hampshire to the English One-Day Cup final pushed him over the line.
The third and final alteration from the initial squad became a necessity when Alex Hales was discarded after failing two tests for recreational drugs. Top-order batsman James Vince was added in as his replacement before the Pakistan series and holds his place.
England opens its home World Cup on 30 May against South Africa at the Oval.
Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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