England will go into the opening T20 against India with a full squad to pick from after paceman Jofra Archer was declared fit following an elbow injury.
Archer, 25, missed both the second and fourth Tests in the recent series against India due to the issue affecting his right arm.
The setbacks came after the fast bowler suffered a stress fracture in the same elbow in South Africa in the winter of 2019/20, ruling him out of the subsequent Test series in Sri Lanka.
England captain Eoin Morgan decided not to reveal his team on the eve of the match, preferring to keep his options open, but confirmed Archer is available and determined to play all formats of cricket for as long as he can.
Morgan, Moeen Ali, Archer, Bairstow, Billings, Buttler, S Curran, T Curran, Jordan, Livingstone, Malan, Rashid, Roy, Stokes, Topley, Wood
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Morgan added the variety in Archer’s bowling makes him “a huge asset” for the team.
“He’s a guy who can bowl in three parts of the game and be threatening whenever he comes on,” said Archer. “He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations and has a very good yorker.
“If you look at any of his performances as a whole they all sort of suggest that he will have a significant role to play in the World Cup.”
India vs England
March 12, 2021, 12:30pm
Archer was unsurprisingly retained by Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League, which begins on Sky Sports on April 9, after being named MVP for the 2020 tournament after taking 20 wickets in 14 matches.
Morgan said that through captaining Archer, spending more time with him and playing against the Sussex seamer in the IPL, he now has a better understanding of what makes the bowler tick.
“He’s always been engaging – he is a younger member of our squad who has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late twenties or early thirties,” explained Morgan.
“He loves enjoying what he does in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket and playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a big family man so the more I’ve got to know him the better our relationship is and the more I’ve grown to enjoy his company away from the game. He’s a funny guy.”
England go into the T20 series against India ranked as the number one team in the world in the format but only too aware of the dangers posed by their hosts, most noticeably the threat from spin as Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin inspired India to a 3-1 success in the Test series.
“When you break our game down naturally as English players coming through, it’s probably our biggest learning point that we need to improve on,” said Morgan.
“We don’t get exposed to a lot to an extravagantly turning ball but the more the guys play against it, the better they become at managing it.
“So we need to be exposed to it because come the World Cup there’s a chance we might play [against it]. India’s a huge country with completely different conditions at every ground and in 2016 we didn’t play on a wicket that turned extravagantly – there were only Nagpur where the ball did turn significantly.
“It’s better to go through this process now as opposed just in the World Cup.”
Watch England’s five-match T20I series in India live on Sky Sports. Our build-up to the first game starts at 12.30pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.
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