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‘I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes’ – Archer primed for debut after England call-up

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Jofra Archer says that he has been “overwhelmed” by the speed of his elevation to England’s one-day squad, only weeks after becoming eligible to represent the country. His only focus, however, is on his debut series against Ireland and Pakistan next month, and not the prospect of forcing his way into World Cup recognition.

Archer was omitted from the preliminary 15-man World Cup squad that was named by Ed Smith, the national selector, at Lord’s today, but included in an expanded 17-man party for the five ODIs against Pakistan, alongside his Sussex team-mate Chris Jordan.

He now looks set to make his England debut in the one-off ODI against Ireland in Dublin on May 3. And with Smith confirming that a strong showing from Archer could yet propel him into the final World Cup squad, which doesn’t have to be named until May 23, he knows the stage is his should he be ready to seize it.

“I’m going to give it my best shot,” Archer said. “I’ve worked pretty much all my life for this moment and I just want to tackle it and put my best foot forward. It should be a good series. Hopefully I get a chance to play and do myself justice.

“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.”

His rise to prominence comes only months after the ECB relaxed their qualification period for foreign-born players from seven years to three, meaning that Archer – who was born in Barbados but holds a British passport – was suddenly in the World Cup running, having initially expected to have to wait to play for England until 2022-23.

“It’s been an exciting three months but I’m surprised by how fast everything has happened,” he said. “I was fully prepared in my mind that it was going to be a seven-year job. When I found out I was 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.

“It’s always been about playing for England for me and I always made that very clear. I was prepared to wait but thankfully the chance has come sooner.”

Archer’s availability has not been met with universal approval from his prospective England team-mates, with many of the fast bowlers who have helped the team rise to become the No.1 ODI team now fearing that they will be the ones to miss out on the eve of the World Cup.

And though Archer said that he could understand the reticence from the likes of David Willey and Mark Wood, he insisted he was not out to “step on anyone’s toes”.

“This is a great England team that has been playing very well for a number of years leading into the World Cup,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

Archer learned of his call-up ahead of Rajasthan Royals’ IPL clash with Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Tuesday, and celebrated the feat with a superb spell of 3 for 15 in four overs – a performance that augured well for the scrutiny to come.

“It feels really overwhelming. 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,” he said. “It’s really good to be acknowledged for what I’m doing, but it’s hard to put the feeling into words.

“I honestly thought I would have to wait a couple more years before I would be in contention for the full squad, I thought I would have to play for the Lions or something like that. So when [Ed Smith] called I was honestly surprised and it was overwhelming for me. I had heard all the rumours and chatter but I was playing cricket and didn’t give myself too much time to think about it.

“Cricket kept me distracted which was a good thing, because I didn’t’ really want to speak about it or get caught up in all the stuff around it.”

Archer will link up with his England team-mates at the end of April, where he will have three very familiar faces around him – his Rajasthan team-mates, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes (who last week described him as “the most naturally gifted bowler I’ve seen”) and Jordan, his fellow Sussex seamer who also comes from a Barbados background.

“We didn’t speak about England that much,” Archer said of his time in Stokes’ and Buttler’s company. “That might change now I’ve been called up!

“We’ve mainly been trying our best for Rajasthan Royals and get some points on the board which the team need. They are obviously great players and people and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share a pitch with them for England. It will be relaxing to have some familiar faces around.”

And on the subject of Jordan, who has also been given a late chance to press for World Cup inclusion, having not played an ODI since 2016, Archer was effusive.

“He’s been a part of every major cricketing feat I’ve had. My debut at Sussex, my first franchise tournament in Bangladesh, he was there in the Big Bash… he’s always been there every time I’ve done something in cricket.

“It would be a hugely proud moment to play with CJ for England, it’s definitely something we have talked about. We’ve done so much together, we’ve supported each other every step of the way and he deserves his call-up for the Pakistan series.”



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Recent Match Report – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian Premier League, 38th Match

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Toss Sunrisers chose to bowl v Knight Riders

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson decided to field first against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second day game of the season at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal. The home side are unchanged, while the Knight Riders have made three changes.

They have dropped Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna, and replaced them with Rinku Singh, KC Cariappa and Prithvi Raj, the 21-year old left-arm pace bowler making his IPL debut.

It is a crucial game for the Knight Riders who have lost their last four games. Sunrisers, on the other hand, are coming off a win against the Super Kings that helped them break a three-match losing streak.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (capt), Vijay Shankar, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed

Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (capt, wk), Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, KC Cariappa, Harry Gurney, Prithvi Raj



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Shadab Khan ruled out of England series with virus

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Legspinner Shadab Khan has been ruled out of the limited-overs series that Paksitan will play in England in the lead-up to the World Cup. Shadab is ill with a virus, though the exact nature of his illness is not known. A PCB release said “tests revealed a virus that will require treatment and rest for, at least, four weeks”.

Shadab is also part of Pakistan’s World Cup squad. Should he not be fit for the showpiece event, the PCB can make changes to the squad without seeking ICC permission till May 23.

The PCB said further investigations into Shadab’s illness will be done in England. “The Pakistan Cricket Board will now set up Shadab’s appointment with specialists in England to help him fully recover before Pakistan’s World Cup 2019 opener against the Windies on 31 May at Trent Bridge,” the PCB release said.

Shadab is the only specialist spinner in Pakistan’s 15 for the World Cup. The PCB is also waiting on the fitness of Mohammad Hafeez, who was included while still recovering from the finger injury he picked up during the Pakistan Super League. Hafeez is Pakistan’s other major spin option, alongside fellow allrounder Imad Wasim.

The series against England includes one T20I and five ODIs, between May 5 and 19. In addition to the World Cup 15, two more players will travel to England for this series: pacer Mohammad Amir and big-hitter Asif Ali. The PCB said it will name a replacement for Shadab for this series in “due course”.

Squad for the World Cup: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez (subject to fitness), Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail

Additions for England series: Mohammad Amir, Asif Ali



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Oman ride on Mohammad Nadeem’s sizzling form to overcome USA

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Oman 152 for 4 (Nadeem 55*, Suraj 50*, Ali Khan 4-27) beat USA 148 (Silva 33, Fayyaz 3-23) by six wickets

Allrounder Mohammad Nadeem‘s sizzling 2019 form helped Oman to a six-wicket win over USA at United CC. Coming into the tournament on the back of half-centuries in wins over Scotland and UAE, Nadeem made another unbeaten half-century in a 97-run unbroken stand with Suraj Kumar to repel USA after Ali Khan‘s four-wicket burst.

On a very sluggish outfield and up-and-down pitch in the first innings, USA were bowled out for 148 in just 38.5 overs as a sensational fast bowling effort from Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and Fayyaz Butt set up what should have been a straightforward chase of a below-par target. The surface had begun to flatten out in the afternoon sun, but Ali took three wickets with the new ball to leave Oman reeling at 17 for 3.

Ali then returned in the 22nd over and struck with his very first ball of a new spell to get captain Zeeshan Maqsood fiddling an edge behind to make it 55 for 4. Curiously though, Ali only bowled two more overs, meaning he bowled two short of his available quota in one of several eyebrow-raising strategic moves on the day for USA, who also left out Nosthush Kenjige from the XI just a few matches after he had claimed 5 for 27 against Lancashire.

With Ali hidden from the attack, Nadeem and Kumar rebuilt the chase and soon became impossible to dislodge. Nadeem ended on 55 not out off 120 balls while Kumar brought up his half-century on the last ball of the match, sweeping Timil Patel for four through midwicket when scores were level.

Hong Kong 223 for 3 (Rath 114*, Atkinson 35, Dutta 2-30) beat Canada 222 for 8 (Jacobs 52*, Kinchit 4-34) by seven wickets

Hong Kong captain Anshy Rath helped construct a trio of half-century stands, including 90 for the first wicket with former captain Jamie Atkinson to chase down Canada’s 222 with 16 balls to spare at Affies Park.

It was Rath’s second ton for Hong Kong in the last eight months after compiling 102 in a win over UAE at the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia. In addition to the stand with Atkinson, Rath added 50 with Kinchit Shah and another 63 with Ahsan Abbasi for the third wicket.

It was a superb all-round day for Kinchit, who bowled spin with the new ball and claimed the prized scalp of Ruvindu Gunasekera with his fourth ball of the day before coming back to take a hat-trick in the final over. With captain Davy Jacobs red-hot on 52 off 53 balls, he went ice cold at the non-striker’s end watching helplessly as Kinchit nabbed Saad bin Zafar, Dilon Heyliger and Nikhil Dutta with the last three balls of the innings to ensure Canada were defending a below part total.

Namibia 120 for 7 (Frylinck 23*, Amini 3-46) beat PNG 118 (Soper 36, Frylinck 3-16, Williams 3-25, Smit 3-34) by three wickets

Jan Frylinck played a vital role in a low-scoring thriller to help the tournament hosts off to a winning start against Papua New Guinea. Frylinck snared the prized pair of Tony Ura and captain Assad Vala inside the Powerplay and from there, PNG’s innings never gained any momentum. Chad Soper stretched the innings out with 36 from No. 6 before he was last person out in the 43rd for Frylinck’s third victim.

The early part of Namibia’s chase wasn’t much better than what PNG had produced. After legspinner Charles Amini ripped though the middle-order, Christi Viljoe was runout for 8 to leave Namibia 67 for 6 chasing a target of 119.

But Frylinck followed up his wickets with an instrumental 23 not out off of 20 balls to get Namibia over the line with a whopping 19.3 overs to spare. It means they hold a sizeable early advantage with the tournament tiebreaker of net run rate.





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